3 keys for Seahawks-Packers game
The final game of the divisional round weekend involves the Seattle Seahawks traveling north to face the Green Bay Packers. It supposed to start snowing later in the game, this does affect the game-plan and the three keys to the game.
1. Vertical passing game: If the snow is a factor then both teams should take advantage of the vertical passing game. Even if the snow isn't a factor in the defensive back's traction or ability to change direction both teams should still use their weapons accordingly.
Seattle is experiencing a emergence in rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf who started the season struggling but has blossomed into one of the more dynamic receivers in the game. Tyler Lockett has always been a deep threat and if DK Metcalf can also attack the Packers vertically, the Seahawks will be hard to stop.
The Packers don't have any receivers that can beat the Seahawks deep. Most of their receivers specialize in crossing routes. In today's game, it might be the best option to attack the Seahawks vertically. Seattle's strength is in the linebacker corp and it will be hard to beat them in the mid-range passing game. The secondary gives the Packers receivers great one-on-one match-ups and can be exploited for big plays with Aaron Rodgers being able to make any throw.
2. Being a good defense when it matters: Both Defenses aren't good statistically. This doesn't matter as both defenses just need to take advantage of the mismatches that they will be given.
Seattle has Jadeveon Clowney, at numerous times this season he has taken over games. If Clowney can get a strip sack or multiple quarterback hurries then the Packers offense will be slowed.
The Packers have two good book-ends in Zadarius Smith and Preston Smith. In obvious passing downs, they both make a difference and more importantly the difference in the Packers defense.
There are plenty of star defenders on both defenses. What matters in the playoffs is making that big play. It might be an interception or a forced fumble, in today's game that will probably decide the game.
3. Rotate the running backs: I know Aaron Jones is good and I know he had 16 touchdowns this season. As eager as Matt Lafleur is to give him the ball every running play, he needs to keep Jones fresh. Aaron Jones can't be burnt out by the end of the game, the Packers need him to keep the offense balanced and if they have the lead, have Jones run out the clock. The Packers have other running backs at their disposal and it's key to rotate them into the game.
The Seahawks have the opposite problem. They don't have a clear number one back. They need to find out who has the hot hand for this game with both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny on injured reserve. Marshawn Lynch has been the power back but it's clear he's lost a few steps since leaving Seattle in 2016. Travis Homer was a late round pick in the past draft by Seattle, and he hasn't shown he can take the load needed required from a number one back. Seattle needs to establish a running game to win and between the two they need to find one of them who can get the ground game going.