Packers vs Seahawks: Gameday Preview - 2021 Week 10

Aaron Rodgers is back. Russell Wilson is back. The Seahawks travel to the Packers today in a matchup of quarterbacks coming back from injuries. These teams have had some memorable matchups lately, but it's worth noting that Russell Wilson has never won a game at Lambeau Field. Hopefully that streak continues. 

The last time these teams met was the 2019 playoffs. The Packers jumped out to a 21-3 lead before cruising to a 28-23 victory that didn't get close until the very end. The Packers struggled in the run game, but the defense was stout early and Aaron Rodgers had an efficient day with a 113.7 rating.

That marked the 4th victory for the Packers in the last 5 meetings between the teams. The Packers have had Seattle's number ever since The Playoff Game We Don't Talk About.

Today, both teams have are expecting to get some injured players back, but the Packers have fared far better with their backups this year than the Seahawks.

 

WHEN THE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE BALL

Wide receiver DK Metcalf is a monster. He's 6'4, 230 pounds and has 4.33 speed. To put that in perspective, he's about the same size as De'Vondre Campbell and runs a little faster than Jaire Alexander. Even with Geno Smith throwing him the ball the last 4 games, he still came up with almost 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. In two of those games, he averaged an absolutely silly 19 yards per target.

The Packers probably won't be able handle him one-on-one and are going to have to get creative in coverage to contain him because Russell Wilson is aggressive in getting him the ball. Green Bay can't ignore Tyler Lockett on the other side, either, though - he's a productive veteran who can make big plays against single coverage.

The Packers have done a good job slowing down the passing attack in the past by keeping Wilson in the pocket so that he can't run or extend plays outside the tackles. Rashan Gary has been coming on as a pass rusher, but he often goes for pressure at the expense of containing the edge. He'll need to avoid over-pursuing this week or Wilson will find lanes to scamper.

On the other side, Preston Smith hasn't been getting a lot of sacks or pressures, but he's done a great job of holding the edge and containing backs, which will come in handy today.

The Seahawks have been a little inconsistent in their dedication to the run. Since losing starting running back Chris Carson to a neck injury last month, they've leaned on Alex Collins, who has been serviceable, but unspectacular. Their running game hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but this could be the week that changes.

Kenny Clark is questionable with a back injury, Kingsley Keke is doubtful, and Dean Lowry is just getting over his hamstring injury. The Seahawks may try to run a little more today, both to attack the weak Packers defensive line and to take pressure off a quarterback dealing with a sore finger in his throwing hand. Luckily, the Packers inside linebacker duo of De'Vondre Campbell and Krys Barnes have been playing stout in the middle and should be able to keep the run game contained.

If they can continue their high level of play, the Packers won't need to bring a safety up and can keep all their defensive backs in coverage to help slow down the passing attack.

 

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL

Aaron Rodgers will be back running the offense, and he'll surely be an upgrade from a developing prospect, but his illness and subsequent quarantine could impact his conditioning.

The Packers would be wise to lean on their dominant run game this week (just like they would have been wise to lean on their dominant run game last week). No team has really been able to stop the Packers running game since their 4th preseason game against New Orleans.

After a week off, Rodgers should hand the ball off frequently. Should. He has all his primary receivers back, though, and may be antsy to sling the ball around after a week off. With David Bakhtiari doubtful, the passing game may not be able to do all the things it used to do just quite yet. Plus, Seattle's defense is no pushover. 

The Legion of Boom is long gone, but the Seahawks still have a formidable defense. DJ Reed is only 5'9, but the undersized corner has been have a great season in coverage and rookie Tre Brown has been coming on as a 4th round pick.

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is the heart of the Seattle defense and outside linebacker Jordyn Brooks is a dynamic player, but this is not the dominant Seahaws defense of years passed. Their defensive line is solid, but if  they can attack Lucas Patrick and Royce Newman the way the Chief did, they may some success in disrupting the Packers rhythm.

 

OTHER NOTES

After all the drama of the last week and a half, it'll be a nice change of pace to watch a football game. There could be some potential spillover from the latest chapter in the Rodgers saga, though. If QB1 comes out wanting to show up his naysayers (instead of running a balanced offense), things could go south. He hasn't practiced in 10 days, his body is recovering from a tough illness, and he doesn't have the regular midseason rhythm he normally does with his receivers because of all their injuries.

The Packers special teams... you know what? I can't even.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Seahawks are having a bad season. A lot of that is due to injuries, but even with Russell Wilson coming back, they don't feel like a team that's up to the challenge of going on the road and knocking off a top contender.

The Packers can definitely botch this up with another disastrous special teams showing or getting away from the run game for no reason when they're getting 5 yards a carry.

This doesn't feel likely, though.

Matt LaFleur has never lost back to back games and I think a big part of that is because he takes winning very seriously and takes accountability for what his team does. In last week's post-game press conference, he took full blame for the team's loss.

I expect that to fuel him in game-planning this week. I think the Packers come out ready for a balanced attack on offense that controls the game from the get-go. On defense, I see the Packers forcing Russell WIlson into some mistakes - playing with a recently-healed broken finger on your throwing hand in the cold is not a recipe for success.

Packers 24, Seahawks 16

 

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

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Comments (12)

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Houndog's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:21 am

I too believe this is a game the Packers should win., but Wilson can be dangerous at any time, even when coming back from injury (which we haven't seen before), the guy's just plain good.
And then, what's with Rodgers' toe injury? There's a lot of talk, but no details, I'm just hoping it's not a turf-toe thing, they can last for weeks. Does anyone have specifics?
Another defensive performance like we've been seeing lately, and the STs at least showing up could be a big factor in deciding this game, and I'm more confident in the "D" on that subject, but the injuries concern me.
Let's hope your predictions are right.

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

November 14, 2021 at 08:55 am

Personally having had the same injury as Wilson (without the NFL level surgery) I can only wonder how effective Wilson's throws will be. This injury is a nagging slow recovery and I'm sure they will have it shot up and numb, but still to think he will be 100% is a bit of a stretch.
Packers need to be keen to the short dump off type passes. His rocket throws probably wont have the thrust they normally do.

I look for a home victory 28 -23

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CWolf's picture

November 14, 2021 at 09:20 am

About Rashan Gary: I thought he improved and is overpursuing less. Was that just me?

I think the Packers should win this, but for some reason I'm not confident. Maybe it's just all the talk about how Matt LaFleur has never lost back to back games. All streaks come to an end eventually, though I hope it's not today. So... Packers 21-17.

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Coldworld's picture

November 14, 2021 at 11:21 am

Run hard on that D, tire Wagner. Our O line must play better and then there is STs ….

Metcalf is impressive, but Stokes and King both have size and the former has his speed. Douglas can handle the other. The thing about Seattle is that they haven’t got much out of anyone beyond their top 2 receivers. If that continues then that means both more opportunities to help the perimeter corners. As ever with Wilson, contain and harass, Slaton will need to be impactful again.

I just hope STs don’t blow this again. I am not all that confident.

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 14, 2021 at 10:42 am

" his body is recovering from a tough illness"

Has there been mention that he was suffering at all? Did his path on immunization keep him from suffering any effects? What would be said if so? Another 2 million tests kits have been recalled for having 95% false positives. When will people learn that Covid is now and has been an ideology being used to manipulate the political scene of this country?

I know this will be attacked as political, but the writer brought it into the discussion by assuming Rodgers had suffered effects without any evidence of such and therefore cow-towed to writing a false point because the ideology dictates un-vaccinated are the problem and reason for the narrative as to Covid.

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Coldworld's picture

November 14, 2021 at 11:12 am

He had symptoms around the time of his initial positive test by his own admission, but it’s a big step from that to predicting he’s still experiencing after effects. It’s not impossible by any means, but it is pure supposition. He has acquired a toe issue though, which may or may not be either related or significant.

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BruceIrons's picture

November 14, 2021 at 01:06 pm

I didn't assume anything.

I said his quarantine "could" affect his conditioning. It could.

I said his rhythm with his receivers has been impacted by their injuries. It has.

I said his body is recovering from illness. It is. He had an illness. Now he's recovering. There is no statement of any effects or the severity of the impact of his illness.

And I certainly didn't mention anything about test kits or political manipulation.

This is a football column.

Anything beyond that is inferred by the reader.

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 14, 2021 at 01:24 pm

A positive test doesn't equate to being ill or even feeling ill, so to say he is recovering without knowing if the previous actually existed is an assumption.

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BruceIrons's picture

November 14, 2021 at 01:56 pm

I never said he was feeling ill.

He tested positive for an illness. He's now recovering from it. That's all I said.

Enjoy the game,

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Leatherhead's picture

November 14, 2021 at 03:37 pm

You’re never going to persuade frightened people. That’s been apparent for quite a while.

Rodgers, like most young, healthy adults, felt under the weather for a day or two and now he’s fine.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 14, 2021 at 03:37 pm

You’re never going to persuade frightened people. That’s been apparent for quite a while.

Rodgers, like most young, healthy adults, felt under the weather for a day or two and now he’s fine.

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PearlyBakerBest's picture

November 15, 2021 at 04:59 am

Damn

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