Green Bay Packers. Seattle Seahawks. The rivalry runs deeper than you think. From Brandon Bostick’s fumble in the 2014 NFC Championship Game to the Fail Mary in 2012, this specific rivalry runs thicker than most cross-divisional opponents in the NFL. After all the heartbreak that Packers fans have experienced playing Seattle at CenturyLink Field, can they possibly bear another tragic loss to the Seahawks? The biggest difference between Sunday’s game and the last few times that these teams have met in the playoffs comes down to one major factor: 2020’s game is being played on the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field.
The Seahawks have not won a game at Lambeau since former QB Matt Hasselbeck infamously stated, “We want the ball, and we’re going to score!” at the coin toss in the NFC Wild Card matchup in 2004. While the Packers and Seahawks lead the league in best overall records since 2010, Green Bay has won 8 straight matchups they have hosted against their NFC West rival. Seattle’s 2019-20 regular season has been nothing but thrillers it seems, as most of their games have been one-score last drive shootouts. No matter which team ends up advancing to the NFC Championship game, one thing is for sure: this game has “win ugly” written all over it.
In order to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field, there are two things the Seahawks must be able to do: 1) Stop the Run. 2) Pressure Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately, Seattle is 26th in the league in run defense DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average) and their defensive line is 32nd in pressure rate. While the Packers offense has failed to put together complete games worth of competent offense, it does seem like they should have the advantage on the offensive side of the ball. Aaron Jones should be able to feast in the play-action game, as Seattle continues to struggle with pass-catching backs. If Rodgers is given more time in the pocket, he’s still shown glimpses of the vintage Rodgers that Green Bay fans adore.
While Rodgers and this Packers offense seems to have the advantage over the Seattle Defense, the Seahawks still have “Danger” Russ Wilson in their corner. Going up against Wilson in the 4th quarter sends chills down opposing defensive coordinator’s spines, as the game is never over with him under center. One matchup that the Seahawks can look forward to is emerging body-builder wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. Packers Kevin King will most likely be given the task of trying to match up with Metcalf given that he’s the biggest body Green Bay can match on the 6’4” Seahawk deep-threat. King is in the bottom 10 of defensive backs in the league in allowing completions of over 20 yards to opposing receivers, so expect Seattle to try their fair share of deep attempts through a continuation of the play-action game. At the end of the day, no one really knows how this one is going to turn out, but expect it to end in a non-conventional football score that makes no sense.
The winner of Sunday night’s game will play the winner of Saturday’s Vikings / Niners matchup. If the Niners win, they will host the winner of SEA/GB. If the Vikings pull off the upset, they will travel to the winner of SEA/GB.