Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 NFL Week 14 Preview and Prediction: Packers vs. Seahawks

We've had this last week, Packer fans, to revel in a two-game winning streak following our victories over Philadelphia and Houston. After you lose four in a row, yeah, two qualifies as a streak. The Packers were able to do what they needed to do, at home in December against the Texans, to get back to .500 at 6-6. No need to rehash that game here and at this point; it's old news by now, right? It was a good -- and necessary -- win.

So, let's get to the game at hand versus Seattle.

The Packers have a couple stats in their favor: (1) the Packers haven't lost to Pete Carrol at Lambeau Field (if memory serves correctly...which is questionable at this point); and (2) Aaron Rodgers hasn't lost a home game in December since 2009 (ditto the previous qualifier). The Packers may also have weather in their collective favor, as the forecast calls for anywhere from 3-5 inches of snow before and/or during game time. Naturally, it could just as easily work against them. Both teams have to adapt and play. You just hope the Packers are a bit more accustomed to this than are the Seahawks.

If the weather is as forecast, that could certainly put a crimp in the downfield passing game of Aaron Rodgers, although you know he'll take a few shots. But with the Pack's seeming emphasis on short dink-and-dunk type passes, that problem may be somewhat negated. A consistent running game would be helpful...and is not really something the Packers have had much of this season. Expect Ty Montgomery to see a lot of the ball, and perhaps even recent former Seahawk Christine Michael, as well.

QB Aaron Rodgers will be challenged on many fronts vs. the Seahawks.
Photo by Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

Defensively, the Packers will be without LB Nick Perry and Clay Matthews will likely be limited. The linebacking corps is going to be challenged. We could expect lots of scheming to try to cover up those potential gaps, including the continued use of Morgan Burnett as a bit of a tweener when needed. Mike Pennel just got hit with a four-game suspension so the defensive line takes a bit of a hit there.

The Seahawks, as Voice of the Packers Wayne Larrivee has contended, are the best team in the NFC right now, possibly the NFL, despite the better record by Dallas, for example. At 8-3-1, they certainly have an edge over the Packers it would seem. QB (and former Wisconsin Badger -- Go Badgers!) Russell Wilson is looking like his old young self again, which means problems for the Packers defense. TE Jimmy Graham is arguably the best tight end in the game today. The Seahawks defense, even with the loss of Earl Thomas, can still cause lots of problems for opposing offenses. They are a tough, smack-mouth squad.

The Prediction
At the time of this writing, the Seahawks are favored by 3 points. The Packers need this game to keep their outside shot at the NFC North Division Championship, or at least the playoffs, alive. We don't feel good about this game, Packer fans. The two teams the Packers have beaten to get back to even are nowhere near as good as Seattle. Neither are the Packers right now, unfortunately.

As much as it pains us to say it, we're calling this 24-17 Seahawks.

Still...Go Pack Go!!!