The reigning champions are right where they want to be, in their second consecutive conference championship game. The last time they were here, they knocked off the San Francisco 49ers on their way to destroying the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Seattle started the season slow, disposed of some unwanted weight and haven’t looked back. The Seahawks are operating on nearly all cylinders as they host the Green Bay Packers today for the right to represent the NFC in Arizona a few weeks from now.
Green Bay started slow this season as well, then Aaron ‘discount double-check’ Rodgers told everyone to ‘R-E-L-A-X’ and the Packers took off. They outlasted a physical Cowboy team last week to reach the conference championship game for the first time since the last time they won it all. Rodgers and company will have to be on their best behavior if they wish to go into the lions den aka Seattle and knock the champs out.
Rodgers has struggled against the elite defenses in the league the past couple of seasons, he’s 0-6 against the combination of the Seahawks and 49ers. Green Bay also lost every game against a team with a defense in the top five this year as well in Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo. The key to this game isn’t just sticking to the run for Green Bay, it’s Rodgers being able to quell that inner demon that refuses to take what is given against those top defenses. More often than not, it’s as if the Packers feel the need to ‘go downfield’ even when it’s a horrible decision. Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the entire league, but his one flaw may be his patience or lack there of against the top defenses in the league. If the Packers can commit to running the ball and not turning it over while being patient, they have a chance.
The Seahawks just have to do what got them to this point and to a championship last year. Get ‘Beast Mode’ going early and convert every opportunity downfield in the passing game when it’s presented. Russell Wilson was exceptional last week against the Panthers on third down and going downfield. Green Bay has struggled mightily with mobile QBs, especially Wilson and Kaepernick.
In terms of X-factors for this game, the first that comes to mind is Davante Adams of the Packers. This kid has come on strong for his team as the season has progressed, he had a monster performance last week. Green Bay will need that same production at the least this week against Seattle. It’s imperative that the number three, number four wideouts can win as the top two rarely do against that defense. The other for Green Bay is the offensive line, they must win on every play no matter if it’s a run or a pass. They can’t afford to get behind the chains against the reigning champs.
For Seattle, Tharold Simon comes to mind immediately. Green Bay will try to take advantage of the corners near the bottom of the depth chart. If Simon is able to hold his own, it will force Rodgers to attack the stronger members of the Legion of Boom and that won’t end well. The other x-factor for the Hawks will be Luke Wilson. The tight end from Rice is extremely athletic, he can beat most linebackers down the seam and can run away from them once he catches the ball.
Who do you have winning this game and representing the NFC in the Super Bowl?? Share your thoughts in the comments below!!