Five things to watch in Packers vs Seahawks: Will Rodgers or Russ be rusty?

Five things to watch as the Green Bay Packers take on the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field.

After falling to just their second loss of the season, the Green Bay Packers are returning home to the comfy confines of Lambeau Field, where they have enjoyed tremendous success over this weekend’s opponents, the Seattle Seahawks.

Matt LaFleur has never lost back-to-back regular season games, and will be hopeful of extending that impressive record on Sunday with a victory.

Here are five things to watch which could decide whether the Packers get to 8-2 on Sunday:

QB rust

At this time a week ago, it looked like this matchup could be on course to feature a quarterback battle between Jordan Love and Geno Smith.

As it turned out, both the Packers and Seahawks will have their superstar signal-callers under center on Sunday, with Russell Wilson announcing his return from a finger injury and Aaron Rodgers coming back from the Covid list.

Wilson has missed Seattle’s last three games and it will be interesting to see whether he is able to throw the ball with as much ease as before the injury.

Rodgers was not able to practice until Saturday, and although he has established a mind-meld like chemistry with Davante Adams, there is certainly the possibility of Green Bay’s QB not being quite on the same page with his receivers at times this Sunday.

Whichever quarterback is able to make the more seamless transition back into their respective offense could be a big indicator as to which team will come out on top.

Red zone offense

The Seahawks defense has not been special so far this season, but they have excelled in the most crucial area: the red zone.

Green Bay’s issues inside the 20 have been well-documented this season, so Matt LaFleur will need to bring his A-game in terms of play calling this week.

Execution in the red zone is a crucial part of any offense, and it will be of the utmost importance for the Packers this week as they look to make the most of their scoring opportunities.

Special teams

For as likeable a coach as Maurice Drayton appears to be, and as entertaining and engaging as his press availabilities are, his unit is still leaving far too much to be desired.

The Packers’ special teams is still struggling for competence, and against Kansas City, the group was a stone-cold disaster, as field goals were missed and blocked, and punts were muffed, with the points left out on the field as well as the ones gifted to the Chiefs ultimately proving the difference in the game.

For all the issues Green Bay’s special teams has had in the past, the field goal operation was always the one redeeming element, and the one thing Packers fans could trust. That is no longer the case, with a change of long snapper only appearing to make things worse.

Packers fans are not asking for their special teams to be the league’s best, they just want games not to be decided because of their ineptitude. Drayton needs to get his unit turned around in a hurry, starting against Seattle.

Metcalf and Lockett

In D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks have one of the more formidable wide receiver duos in the NFL, with each of them bringing a completely different skillset.

The imposing size of Metcalf would intimidate most cornerbacks, and Lockett’s speed and shiftiness is equally terrifying.

Fortunately for the Packers, their cornerback group has stepped up to a level very few people expected without Jaire Alexander, with Rasul Douglas proving to be a revelation and Eric Stokes impressing as a rookie.

Kevin King quietly enjoyed arguably his best performance in green and gold last week, as his name was very rarely spoken and he was seldom on screen. That’s exactly what you want from a cornerback.

That said, Green Bay’s corners will face yet another tough assignment on Sunday, and will need to keep playing at a high level to prevent Metcalf and Lockett from running riot.

The turnover battle

A crucial part of any NFL game, the turnover battle will come into even sharper focus this week, due to each team’s stinginess when it comes to giving the ball to their opponent.

The Seahawks have only taken the ball away eight times this year, with only six NFL teams producing fewer turnovers. However, they have only committed four giveaways, which is the fewest in the league to date.

Green Bay’s turnover differential of plus six is two better than Seattle’s net positive of plus four, with Rodgers’ distaste for putting the ball in harms way one of the key factors in the Packers’ impressive numbers.

In a game like this, one turnover for either team could be the difference between winning and losing.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

4 points

Comments (25)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lphill's picture

November 13, 2021 at 03:13 pm

Wilson has missed more time and came back early from an injury , the cold weather can affect that finger , I think he will have more rust to shake off than Rodgers . Being a late game also gives Rodgers more time to practice .

12 points
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dblbogey's picture

November 13, 2021 at 05:38 pm

Agree. Rodgers has been on the zoom calls and he has about 57 years of experience running this team. He missed 1 game. I think he'll be fine.

6 points
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Since'61's picture

November 13, 2021 at 03:17 pm

We should run the ball early and often to keep
Wilson off the field and unable to shake off his rust. Rodgers may start slowly but with an effective run game he can set up play action and shake off any rust with quick passes to RBs and TEs. Once he settles in MLF can open up the offense.

Build a lead and let the defense do its job. If we hold Seattle below 20 we can pull away to victory in the 2nd half.

We’re playing at home with the better team and it should be chilly for the 1st time this season at Lambeau. My one concern is our Special Teams. I expect Pete Carroll to try to exploit our various ST weaknesses either trying for blocked kicks or big returns against our coverage units. KOs into the end zone and punts out of bounds only. Hold our breaths on FGs. I hope MLF expects the same and had the STs prepared.

I like the Pack 30 - 16. GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

15 points
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Gee's picture

November 14, 2021 at 10:23 am

Well said sir, yeah the longer Wilson has to hide that hand from the elements, the better. I think maybe quick passes to start, only because you have to think they are going to sell out on the run, to start at least. Yeah the ST is what really has my stomach in knots, cause we all know Carroll and Hawks love to throw trick plays/ (ugh still have nightmares about the NFC playoff game.)

1 points
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packer132's picture

November 13, 2021 at 04:43 pm

NFL games are harder to predict, as there is parity now. Last week the Bills lost to Jacksonville, and Baltimore lost to the Dolphins. Anything can happen, though often the team with the fewest turnovers wins. Seattle leads the league with only 4 while the Packers have committed just 8. Running the ball is key for Green Bay, though they seem to get away from it too early every game. Coaching could decide this one, and I hope LaFleur makes adjustments as he had done more this year. The new snapper did fine according to coaches, and it appears the holder was more to blame. I am looking forward to another close game, with Packers pulling it out; 31-27.

5 points
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NickPerry's picture

November 13, 2021 at 06:20 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again, run the ball, use the short passing game especially the screen game to the RB's, and play good defense. Rodgers will be fin I believe. He may not be 100% and might feel the effects of COVID later in the game, but if there's one QB I trust with minimum preparation going into a game it's Rodgers.

Lphill and Since '61 both mentioned the cold. Kickoff is at 3:25 CST. By that time the temperature will have begun to drop and by the start of the 3rd quarter it will be downright chilly. If I had to guess, that's going to be an issue for Wilson and his finger.

6 points
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blacke00's picture

November 14, 2021 at 06:45 am

First, there is no evidence that Rodgers was ever sick,( a positive test doesn't mean a person is sick) from the virus. So I doubt he (Rodgers) will have any residual effects. He'll play good or bad because he played well or poorly, it's as simple as that.

1 points
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blacke00's picture

November 14, 2021 at 06:55 am

One other thing. Wilson returning after 5 weeks after the injury he sustained? I'm a little skeptical. It takes 6 weeks for bone to heal...Minimum! Either, he didn't really have an "avulsion" fracture like they Seattle said or their very worried that their season is almost lost and they have to take a chance. I would trust Pete Carroll has far as I could throw him. Anyone remember why he left USC??????

4 points
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HawkPacker's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:54 am

Yes, I remember why he left USC and that is why he is not a favorite of mine plus I really don't like his attitude either.

USC gets slapped by the NCAA for various infractions and Carol (sp) gets to leave with no slapping at all. Does not seem fair to me.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:25 am

Rodgers admitted he felt unwell. So he has experienced symptoms.

5 points
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HawkPacker's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:54 am

Based on what I read, if he had any symptoms, they were minimal.

1 points
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splitpea1's picture

November 13, 2021 at 08:03 pm

I hope I'll be seeing Stokes. I think we'll need him, and if he's not out there, it looks like his injury was understated. I also hope I'll be seeing K. Clark for at least a limited number of snaps.

With Dafney doubtful, we're now down to Deguara and Lewis; Coach Outten says Deguara is playing at "full speed", so hopefully this will translate into more offensive snaps and more receptions.

Barry shouldn't be lulled into any false sense of security and decide to go passive even with a seemingly comfortable lead. How many times have we seen Wilson accomplish nothing in the first half and then come out on fire in the second? Find the right balance and keep him frustrated with the combination of Gary and some form of containment. Be like Barney Fife and nip any fourth quarter drives in the bud--keep the drama under control if it can be helped....

3 points
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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

November 13, 2021 at 09:02 pm

Even at his age, Big Dog is one of the most reliable guys on the team. I'd love to see him get his ring.

4 points
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Oppy's picture

November 13, 2021 at 10:43 pm

Be cautious of the term "Full speed".

Sometimes, this can be used by coaches to indicate they're really happy the player is throwing himself into plays with aggression and without hesitance, but he's also making mental errors but we're not going to hang him out to dry in the public.

Coaches almost always tell their guys they want to see the intensity, and if you're going to make mistakes, make them at full speed. But they still don't want to see those mistakes. :)

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 14, 2021 at 01:41 pm

In the context of returning from injury it typically means that he’s not physically limited any more and implies that he may have been before. Since the guy is a rookie in effect, having missed the pre-season, all of the off season and most of last year, it now comes down to learning.

0 points
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mnbadger's picture

November 14, 2021 at 09:13 am

love barney fife reference. GPG!

3 points
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joejetson's picture

November 13, 2021 at 08:33 pm

Wilson injured a finger on his throwing hand. The cold, damp weather could aggravate it. He may have problems trying to throw deep. Could be opportunities for interceptions on underthrown passes. If King doesn't drop it again.

Also, Rodgers always plays his best after he feels "diisrespected".

Packers 35, Seattle 17

4 points
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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

November 13, 2021 at 09:00 pm

We could still see Jordan Love and Geno Smith if Wilson's finger and Rodgers' COVID lungs start negatively impacting their play. I wouldn't be surprised by either. Should be a fun one to watch!

2 points
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HawkPacker's picture

November 13, 2021 at 09:44 pm

RE: Special Teams-The new long snapper has not had a negative affect on Special Teams. The holder needs to work on the seams placement on field goals!

2 points
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Spock's picture

November 14, 2021 at 09:58 am

Hawk, Exactly what I was going to say. "That is no longer the case, with a change of long snapper only appearing to make things worse." The snaps have been fine, the holding, not so much.

1 points
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Starrbrite's picture

November 13, 2021 at 11:56 pm

Drove in from out of State to see the game and laser-focused to watch it. We’re having trouble uploading our tickets and I’m becoming a little stressed—I guess escaping from the nursing home wasn’t such a great idea…….. go get’em Packers!!!

10 points
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HawkPacker's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:56 am

Love your humor. Enjoy the game. I have been a packer fan for ever and have never been to GB. Hopefully that will change this summer.

4 points
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4thand1's picture

November 14, 2021 at 07:03 am

Cold effects everything, especially the lungs.

4 points
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Difer's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:39 am

I wonder what the over-under is for special team turnovers.

3 points
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Since'61's picture

November 14, 2021 at 10:08 am

I would set that number at 2 by the Packer STs.
Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
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