Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks: Brutally Honest Preview

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For the 20th straight season, the Green Bay Packers will make an appearance on Monday Night Football, making the trip to CenturyLink Field to face off with the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle is a city currently crazed by rookie sensation Russell Wilson, a guy Packers nation should know very well from his time with the state’s second most important football team, the Wisconsin Badgers.

This game won’t be about quarterbacks though, it’s about a couple of defenses coming off top notch performances in week two wins.


Seattle Seahawks (1-1) Analysis:
As soon as the vertically-challenged Wilson stole the starting QB job from former Packers back-up Matt Flynn, Seattle and many fans in Wisconsin have been injected with full-blown Russellmania. Not that the phenomenon should come as much of a surprise since the exact situation ensued in Madison, WI around this same time last year. But the troubling part of it all is the fact that Wilson has looked like a typical rookie quarterback, well under the expectations put on him after a stellar preseason.

The Seahawks rank dead last in the NFL in passing yards per game (136 ypg) with Wilson throwing two touchdowns and one interception. From covering the Badgers, I know better than most that Russell can be dangerous on the run, but he’s not RG3. Did you know that Wilson ranks 29th in the league in ESPN’s QBR rating, below such quarterbacks as Kevin Kolb, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Until Wilson proves he can make the throw and put a team on his back, I’m not giving him the credit the nation thinks he deserves.

The unit that has carried this team on it’s back is the defense, particularly a defensive front that has held opposing teams to 46.5 rushing yards a game. We all saw what happened when the Packers played a comparable defensive front in the San Francisco 49ers. It will be imperative for the Packers to find a way to beat big corners Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman on the edges with their speedy receivers.

Green Bay Packers (1-1) Analysis: Green Bay is coming off the first game in a long time where their defense actually outclassed the offense. In fact, the Packers were the first team since 2002 (Atlanta Falcons) to post at least seven sacks and four interceptions while holding an opponent to under 200 yards of total offense. A big reason the Packers were able to hold the Chicago Bears to just 168 yards of total offense was because they took one of their biggest weapons out of the game. You can talk all you want about Jay Cutler somehow avoiding Brandon Marshall, but give credit to corner Tramon Williams who celebrated his welcome-back party last Thursday. Williams returned to 2010-form with two interceptions and a complete shutdown of Marshall.

Aaron Rodgers and the offense is still a work in progress, but you almost get that feeling that it’s only a matter of time before they open up the super-potent ariel attack from last season. The run game and offensive line is arguably better than it was last season and Rodgers’ receivers are the same guys he’s been throwing to since he entered the league. I’m not saying the Packers will break out against the Seahawks and their 12th man because not many do (opponents average 18.5 points in Seattle dating back to last season), but the Packers won’t be shut down either because no one does that (Green Bay has been held under 20 points once in it’s last 19 games).

Prediction: Green Bay 28 Seattle 13

It may not look it, but this could prove to be a pivotal game in regards to how the season pans out for each of these teams. The national exposure will set the tone for how the media feels about both Green Bay and Seattle, plus a win for either of these teams is a signature win. In the end, I think it’s too tall of a task to trust a rookie quarterback, even if it’s Wilson, to try to pick apart one of the league’s elite teams. For Seattle to make this game competitive, they would need a monster performance from their defense. The problem with that notion is that the Packers’ Rodgers is licking his chops to bounce back from what has been a slow start by his standards. For betting purposes, I like the Packers to cover and the under because of a crazy atmosphere put on by some good ol’ fashion football fans in Seattle.

TV Coverage: ESPN Monday Night Football, Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Jon Gruden (analyst) with Lisa Salters on the sideline.

Betting Lines: Packers favored by 3.5 points and over/under set at 47.

2012 Record straight up: 1-1

2012 Record against the spread: 0-2

2012 Record in over/under: 1-1

What are your predictions for the battle between the Packers and Seahawks? Do you think I’m completely off base about Russell Wilson? Please let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

Pictures:

Donald Driver (bleacherreport.com)

Russell Wilson (sports.yahoo.com)

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