Tale of the Tape: Two Odd Teams Fight for Playoff Lives in Seattle
The Seattle Seahawks rushed for 273 yards on the road and lost. They have one of the league’s best home field advantages, but have been better on the road so far this season. Russell Wilson is throwing much less than his previous seasons, but is on pace to eclipse his own Seahawks record for passing touchdowns. Green Bay has one of the best quarterbacks in the game and rank first in the NFL in yards per rush, but are just 13th in the league in scoring. They lost to the Rams in Los Angeles by two points while being one of the few teams to hold the Rams under 30 points, but allowed the woeful 49ers to score more points in Green Bay (30) while only winning by a field goal.
Neither of these teams are happy with where their records stand. They are in the grips of mediocrity while having some distinct strengths. Seattle plays 5 of their final 7 games at home, starting with this one. Any realistic path to the playoffs begins with a win here. Games against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers have been anything but predictable. Slight advantage goes to the Seahawks playing a short week at home.
The way this works: Each offense will be pitted against the opposing defense and compared on an array of key statistical attributes based on their respective rank in the NFL. The tables that follow show the rank of each unit for each of these categories.
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Seahawks Offense vs Packers Defense
Packers key advantages on defense
The Packers rush the passer in bunches. They lead the NFL in sack rate, and have three players with 4.0 sacks or more. They combine that with some young talent in the secondary like Jaire Alexander who can create turnovers. Kenny Clark has developed into a troublesome interior defender. Mike Daniels has given the Seahawks fits in the past. Muhammed Wilkerson is a load. Kyler Fackrell is great off the edge. Seattle pass protection has decayed the last two weeks after a very strong five week stretch. If they can hold their own against this productive Packers pass rush, the offense could do some damage. If not, this game gets far tougher.
Seahawks key advantages on offense
Seattle is the best rushing team in the NFL, and the Packers are not great at stopping the run. They have surrendered over 120 yards rushing to their last four opponents, and six of their nine overall. FootballOutsiders.com has them as the 26th-ranked rush defense when opponent is factored in. The Seahawks get D.J. Fluker and Chris Carson back, and just saw Rashaad Penny finally flash a glimpse of translatable NFL talent. The Packers know what the Seahawks are going to do. It seems unlikely they will be equipped to stop them. Like the Rams, all these pass rushers will be unaccustomed to defending the run play after play.
A key here will be how the Seahawks perform on 3rd down. The Packers defense is among the best in getting off the field, and the Seahawks have struggled there the last two games.
Packers Offense vs Seahawks Defense
Packers key advantages on offense
Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Jones. Davante Adams. The Packers have quality at each of the skill positions, and also boast some of the better offensive lineman in the NFL with Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari. Jones erupted for a big game on Sunday, but we have seen this before against the Dolphins when Kerryon Johnson and the Lions ran all over them only to be shut down by the Seahawks. One of the silent stories of the Seahawks struggles this season has been their struggles to defend the run. They have to do better. If the Packers can run effectively, the Seahawks defense will struggle to keep them out of the endzone.
Seahawks key advantages on defense
The Packers two guards are not anywhere close to as capable as the other linemen. Byron Bell is a weak spot. We will see if Jarran Reed can create some more pressure. Seattle does not have a lot of advantages on this side of the ball.
Michael Dickson could swing the game in Seattle’s favor if it is close.
Thanks to Sarah Heath and Chris Rood for sponsoring this series!