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NFL Week 14: Previewing the Seahawks/Packers Match-up

December 10, 2016 • Jon Lowe • Front Page, Green Bay Packers, NFC, NFC North, NFC West, Seattle Seahawks

Everyone in Wisconsin saw what was going on in Green Bay as far as the snow was concerned, but the biggest thing that happened in last week’s game was that Green Bay managed to come away with a victory in the middle of it.

Houston obviously isn’t used to those elements, as they seldom have a road game in December up north, but they got one and played surprisingly well. Quarterback Brock Osweiler didn’t commit a turnover, the defense could stop everything besides Jordy Nelson, and they held their own for much of the game.

However, there are more encouraging signs for the Packers than there are for the Texans.

For one, Green Bay won against a tough defense, and held the Houston offense under 15 points like they should have. They also have their next three games outdoors in cold weather, so playing well this week was a good sign. The corners also played pretty good until the second half, and outside of a few third down Osweiler scramble, the defense didn’t make too many costly mistakes.

This week, though, is the game that likely will decide Green Bay’s fate as they take on the Seattle Seahawks at home. Seattle is coming off of a dominant performance against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football, but that came with a price as star safety Earl Thomas went down for the season (at least). Seattle is also the probably two-seed in the NFC playoffs, and finally has a healthy Russell Wilson. The only other injury of potential concern for Seattle is to running back C.J. Prosise, who will be out as well.

As far as Green Bay is concerned, health is as high as ever. The offensive line is banged up, but J.C. Tretter is not listed as “out” anymore, so he will likely get a chance against Chicago next week.  Guard T.J. Lang might finally return, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in a limited fashion. Inside linebacker Blake Martinez is questionable, but I’d give him another week as well. The only other Packer on the injury report at this moment is Nick Perry, but he played with a club over his injured hand last week and there is no reason to think he will be out.

Seattle is kind of like a really good version of Houston. Their strength is their defense, and their offense is able to get by. The main difference here is, Seattle’s offense is pretty good, and with a healthy Russell Wilson, it will be better. Green Bay’s defense vs. Seattle’s offense is the key to the game, whoever can win on the “weaker” side of the ball is going to come out victorious. It helps that the defense is finally healthy, and that Seattle’s offense is virtually three players outside of Wilson. Tight end Jimmy Graham is the X-factor on that offense, and he probably will cause a lot of problems. Stopping running back Thomas Rawls might not be that difficult, with a not so good offensive line and a stout Packers’ run defense.

Looking at what the Packers’ offense should do, they should attack safety Steven Terrell or Kelcie McCray, as they are the options to start in place of Thomas. Short passes, hurry-up, and quick plays should help the Packers work against this Seattle pass rush, which has 30 sacks among active players, and 10 from defensive end Cliff Avril. It will also back off cornerback Richard Sherman on whoever he covers, as he leads the team with four interceptions. I’d stray away from him, though, as he will likely eliminate either Nelson, Randall Cobb or Davante Adams from the game.

I have to pick Seattle here, I really think the Packers can pull it off, but they just aren’t as good as they were a few years ago. I like that they have responded with this two-game winning streak, but it’s going to be a tough out this week.

Final score: Seattle 29, Green Bay 24.

Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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