Possessing the 23rd best rushing defense in the NFL, the Packers are extremely reliant upon their offensive potency. Therefore, the key to a Hawks’ victory lies in minimizing Aaron Rodgers’ effectiveness while executing a performance identical to their season opener.
Having defeated the Pack by a score of 36-16 in Week 1, the Hawks are seeking a similar outcome in the NFC Championship rematch. However, achieving such a one-sided victory is highly unlikely.
Averaging 35 points per game throughout the course of the regular season, the Green Bay Packers’ offense is extremely prolific, an attribute that earned them a super bowl title back in 2010. But unlike the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl run and the majority of their 2014 regular season, their offense will not go uncontested.
Undaunted by the threat of Rodgers, the Hawks must also prepare for Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy. With his accumulation of 101 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, Packers’ RB Eddie Lacy is currently averaging the most rushing yards per game amongst all postseason players. Look for a solid matchup between Lacy and Wagner as the rest of the Hawks set their sights on pass coverage and pressuring Rodgers.
Recently in the news for his post-game antics, Marshawn Lynch will need to make headlines with his on-field performance this Sunday.
Remaining NFC Champs is ultimately dependent on the success of the whole but in order to ensure those collective successes the Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch need to deliver.
The Hawks looked stellar in their 36-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers, trouncing their opponents in every facet of the game. The offensive line led the charge as they helped RB Marshawn Lynch rack up 110 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing. Rookie RT Justin Britt was a key part of the offensive line’s success against the Pack and if this game is any indicator of what the rest of the season may look like for him, I believe that the Hawks made an incredible second round pick. The Hawks were able to open up ginormous holes thanks to the play of the OL, but the Hawks pass blocking shouldn’t be overlooked. Throughout the course of this game TE Zach Miller was challenged with the task of pass blocking OLB Clay Matthews. Miller’s ability to contain Matthews was huge part of the Hawks victory. Miller helped shutdown one of the biggest sack getters in the game, and his efforts helped the other members of the offensive line focus on stopping OLB Julius Peppers. Only allowing a single sack and successfully containing Peppers and Matthews for a majority of the game, the Hawks did a fantastic job in giving Russell Wilson more time.
Although his stats weren’t flashy, he was almost perfect in his decision making and his 110.9 QB rating is a good indicator of that. Divvying the ball to several targets on the night, Wilson threw for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns with a 67.9 completion percentage. The most electrifying of those targets was most definitely WR/KR Percy Harvin. Being the playmaker that he is, Percy had 160 all-purpose yards against Green Bay, 49 of those yards coming from seven passes caught, 41 yards from four carries, and 60 yards from three kick returns. Although he did not reach the end zone, Percy’s ability to provide big plays is what put the Hawks in the position to score.
Without a single ball thrown in his direction, CB Richard Sherman wasn’t able to record a single defensive stat against the Pack. However, his counterpart CB Byron Maxwell was tested by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in his ability to cover WR Jordy Nelson. Despite allowing Jordy 83 yards receiving, Maxwell was able to keep him from scoring a single touchdown and also recorded an interception. Maxwell’s performance was a good sign of his capability to step into his starting role at right corner. Thanks to a 14 tackle performance from MLB Bobby Wagner, the Hawks were able to limit RB Eddie Lacy to only 34 yards on 12 carries. Stopping Lacy was a big part of shutting down the Packers offense, and as Wagner put it “made them (Packers) one-dimensional”. Overall, the Hawks defeated the Packers with an all-around team effort that was nothing short of amazing to watch.
With the Packers coming to Century Link Field to face the Seahawks tonight, flashbacks of the Monday night game two years ago continue to replay in the minds football fans everywhere. Although the game should be a rematch filled with emotions created by the past, is should also be a good indicator of what the 2014 season will look like for both teams. Looking to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, the Seahawks face an opposing offense that is solid in both rushing and passing the football.
With Aaron Rodgers leading the Packers offense, the Hawks secondary can’t give Rodgers’ targets any room to work with. CB Byron Maxwell will need to be a big part of the effort to stop Arod’s targets as he assumes his role as the starting right corner back upon Browner’s departure. Starting at running back for Green Bay is ‘bama alum Eddie Lacy. Having shown success in his rookie season, Lacy is a powerful back that will challenge the Hawks in preventing yards after first contact. If the Hawks are to shutdown Green Bay’s high powered offense they must tackle soundly and limit Rodger’s throwing room.
Although the Pack may be strong on offense, the same cannot be said for their defense. As long as their offensive line can withstand the likes of linebackers AJ Hawk, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, I have no doubt that Russell Wilson and company will put up plenty of points against a less than mediocre Packers defense. Last year the Packers defense was 25th in rushing yards allowed and 24th in passing yards allowed, and there shouldn’t be any reason to expect different results this year. The key to the Seahawks success is stopping Green Bay from reaching the end zone. All in all, the game should be a shootout between two very dynamic offenses.
What to watch for: The offensive line play of rookie RT Justin Britt and the always exciting WR/KR Percy Harvin
Prediction: Pack 17 to 31 Hawks
Cheers to a new NFL season and the chance to repeat as SB champs! Go hawks!