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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jay Novecek

SATURDAY• Seahawks (11-6) at Packers (13-3)
• Jaguars (12-5) at Patriots (16-0)
SUNDAY• Chargers (12-5) at Colts (13-3)
• Giants (11-6) at Cowboys (13-3)


Seahawks (11-6) at Packers (13-3)
The Seahawks put together a strong finish to last week’s win over the Redskins – they showed the value of that ball-hawking defense late in the fourth quarter.

This game will come down to the running game, which is funny since both teams have great passers in Matt Hasselbeck and Brett Favre.

Unlike Seattle, Green Bay can run. Behind Ryan Grant, the Packers are putting together a solid rushing attack. That’s the difference between this team now and earlier in the season.

Players to watch: Shaun Alexander isn’t the factor that he was in the Seahawks’ Super Bowl season. He has not been electrifying. The key for the Seahawks will be how Hasselbeck fares – he needs time to throw and connect with his receivers. For the Packers, the key is the defensive front four. Green Bay will want to stuff the Seattle run and pressure Hasselbeck.

Pick: Packers, 31-24.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Playoff analysis, predictions from Mike Celizic


Seattle at Green Bay
Time: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Players to watch
Seattle

Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images
Seattle receiver D.J. Hackett.
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The Seahawks beat the Redskins big — 35-14 — in the wild-card round, but Washington beat them in almost every offensive category — yards, passing yards, time of possession, first downs. But Seattle got plays when they needed them, particularly from a smothering defense led by linebackers Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson, who were the stars of the game. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw two interceptions, but didn’t make the critical mistake; he was also efficient, hitting 20-of-32 attempts. Running back Shaun Alexander had moments when he ran hard, but he’s got to step it up two or three notches against Green Bay. Watch return man Nate Burleson, who turned the field around with his punt returns and punter Ryan Plackemeier, who four times pinned Washington inside their own 20.

Packers
This one’s all about the old man and the football, quarterback Brett Favre, gunning for one more glorious run through the postseason. He was the second most prolific passer behind Tom Brady this season, and as he goes, so goes the Pack. Ryan Grant is a breakaway threat at running back, and averaged 5.1 yards a carry once Green Bay settled on him as a starter. Donald Driver led the team with 82 receptions, but Greg Jennings is the deep threat and the big scorer with 12 TDs and an average of 17.4 yards per catch. The offensive line did an extraordinary job protecting Favre this year, giving up just 19 sacks; against the sack-happy Seahawks, they’ll be tested to their limit. The defense is led by veteran corner Charles Woodson, outside linebacker A.J. Hawk and middle linebacker Nick Barnett. Strong safety Atari Bigby led the secondary with five interceptions.

Story continues below ↓
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The Seahawks win if
Seattle made life miserable for Washington quarterback Todd Collins, forcing him out of the pocket and smothering his receivers. Getting to Favre won’t be as easy, but they have to put him on his back. Favre can also become reckless if he’s playing from behind, so it’s vital for the Seahawks to carry a lead into the second half — preferably a two-touchdown lead. If Hasselbeck can get through the day with no turnovers and the pass rush can punish Favre, they could win.

The Packers win if
Seattle at Green Bay
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Breaking down Seahawks vs. Packers, more
Opinion: No way can Seahawks beat St. Favre
SN: Packers’ backfield boost nearly didn't happen
SN: 'Hawks must prove they can win on road
Favre's last shot at a Super Bowl may be now
Images: Highlights of Favre's career
Vote: Who will win the game? | Discuss
Team pages: Seahawks | Packers

No sacks almost certainly equals victory. Green Bay knows that, and that’s going to be their goal — to keep Favre’s uniform clean. If they give him time, no secondary alive can stop him and the Packers will win.

The Seahawks lose if
They got past the Redskins with a minimal rushing attack, and Washington easily won the time-of-possession battle in the wild-card round. That can’t happen again, because Green Bay can finish the drives that Washington couldn’t. If Alexander is ineffective, it will be more pressure on the passing game than Hasselbeck can stand and Seattle will go home.

The Packers lose if

Rebecca Cook / Reuters
Packers quarterback Brett Favre.
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It gets back to pass protection. If Favre gets sacked three or four times and gets pressured frequently, it will mean the offensive line has lost the battle. If they also give up a big play on special teams, they’ll be toast.

Prediction
Favre is the big storyline. The sidebar is coach Mike Holmgren facing his old team, a team he took to its last Super Bowl win. Holmgren has done well in the regular season, but outside of a trip to the Super Bowl two years ago, his postseasons have not gone well in Seattle. He’s up against a better team here, one with a charismatic quarterback having one of his best-ever seasons. The game’s in Green Bay, in weather the Seahawks aren’t used to. They were great against the Redskins, but Favre isn’t going to go as meekly as Collins. The Packers should win this one, blowing it open in the second half. Packers 37, Seahawks 17.
 

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Ryan Grant is not as good as many running back we have shut down this year. Look at last week, we shut down Portis and still got to the quarterback. Tatupu and our safeties read plays very well and while Peterson and Hill blitz they will get Grant in the backfield or slow him down

I expect Grant to be a non-factor that Alexander/Morris will match
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
cmessling07 said:
Ryan Grant is not as good as many running back we have shut down this year. Look at last week, we shut down Portis and still got to the quarterback. Tatupu and our safeties read plays very well and while Peterson and Hill blitz they will get Grant in the backfield or slow him down

I expect Grant to be a non-factor that Alexander/Morris will match
I agree that the running games in this one will be equal at best. The QB who can stay on his feet and throw the ball is gonna win it. I am waffling on my betting pool today and have to lock it by 7pm tonight. :eek: If thisi game wasnt in Lambau it would be so easy. Add the weather and that variable is going to impact both.

Either way it is going to be a good one. Tup:
 

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There's lots of factors in who will win. QB's and their hand temps as well as the wideouts and theirs. Offensive line most of all though. If the Seahawks rush Favre all day and don't give him time, he will make mistakes. Same thing with Hasselbeck.

I ain't givin no prediction. I'm just gonna sit down and watch it with a few beers. Tup:
 

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A local company has given the Seahawks oven type mittens with battery powered heaters inside for the Offensive line, Josh Brown has heated pants, Holmgren has a heated jacket, and there are other heated items being used by the team. They will be fine, weather and the cold wasn't a factor a few years ago their in the playoffs and it shouldn't be a problem tomorrow either. The weather here has been way worse for playing football in with all the wind, cold and rain. Also Lambeau field isn't built to be loud like Seahawks stadium is so noise won't be a factor either.
 

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As far as Ryan Grant goes... I am afraid he might pop off a big one. Only one.
Otherwise the Hawks will hold him in check. How about the Hawks Defense
on third and one and fourth and one? I don't know of any team I have seen in
the NFL that can get a stop as consistantly as the Seahawks lately.
 
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