Green Bay Packers v. Seahawks: 6 Burning Questions

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on in the first quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on in the first quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers will take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC’s Divisional Round and here are six burning questions about the upcoming matchup.

The Divisional Round is set, and as I’m sure you’re all aware, the Green Bay Packers will be taking on the Seattle Seahawks in their game on Sunday. And while no team should be taken lightly by any means, especially in the playoffs, this is a matchup that favors Green Bay and it is one that they should win.

However, before we get to Sunday’s game, as always, I have my six burning questions about the upcoming matchup. So let’s dive in!

Will Russell Wilson struggle at Lambeau again?

I feel that given how the game ended the last time these two teams met in the playoffs, there is some concern among the Packer faithful about playing Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, even though Green Bay is the better team. But truth be told, since the NFC Championship game five years ago, Seattle has come to Green Bay three times and the Packers have dominated while Wilson has struggled.

In 2015, Green Bay won 27-17 while Wilson completed 63 percent of his passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and a pick. The following year, Wilson would implode as he completed 56 percent of his throws for 240 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions as the Packers won 38-10.

Lastly was in 2017 when Green Bay would win 17-9 and Wilson totaled 158 yards on 52 percent passing with no touchdowns. Now, certainly the Packers defense of 2019 is much better than any of the defenses Wilson faced in these previous years and if Green Bay can force him to have a similar performance, they will be in great shape.

Can they limit the big play?

As good as the Green Bay Packers’ defense has been at times this season, they’ve also struggled with giving up big plays through the air. To be exact, they’ve allowed 56 of more than 20 yards (T10 most) and 15 plays of over 40 (2nd most). And it just so happens that they are going against a Seattle team that likes to throw the ball downfield.

An explosive play in the NFL is a play that goes for 20 yards or more. Well, Seattle has 62 this year in the passing game, which is the sixth most in the NFL. Not to mention that their explosive pass rate of 12 percent, is tied for the fourth highest. The Seahawks aren’t necessarily going to methodically move their way down the field, so if Green Bay can take away the explosive play, it will be much more difficult for them to consistently move the ball.

Could it be a big day for Aaron Jones?

As we’ve seen there aren’t too many matchups for Aaron Jones where the potential for a big day isn’t there, but this rings especially true against Seattle. This season the Seahawks are allowing nearly 118 rushing yards per game and their run defense has gotten progressively worse over their last five games as they’ve given up 161.6 rushing yards per game during that stretch.

But it isn’t just in the running game where Jones can have success, he can be just as effective in the passing game as well. Seattle is allowing 9.5 yards per catch and 51.1 receiving yards per game to running backs this season, which ranks as the third and fourth most in the NFL, respectively. It certainly looks like a big day is in store for Jones.

Can they contain Russell Wilson?

While not giving up the big play is very important, containing Russell Wilson and pressuring him is perhaps Green Bay’s biggest key to victory. The good news for the Packers is that this is a Seattle offensive line that has allowed Wilson to be sacked 48 times, which is the most in the NFL for a quarterback and that certainly bodes well for The Smiths and Kenny Clark.

However, that is only half the battle. While the Green Bay Packers’ defensive front may be able to put steady pressure on Wilson, they still have to bring him down or at least keep him in the pocket. Once he’s out on the edge he could run for a big play or as we’ve seen numerous times, find an open receiver downfield.

How will Matt LaFleur fare in his playoff debut?

Overall I think everyone has to be thrilled with the job Matt LaFleur has done this season as a rookie head coach. There were some bumps along the way that included no-showing against Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as offensive issues when his opening script ran out. However, there have been a lot of positives as well.

For one, this team won 13 games and earned a first-round bye! But even after those embarrassing road losses, they were able to bounce-back the following week with wins, which says a lot about the head coach. It’s also worth noting, that while the execution wasn’t always there against Minnesota and Detroit, I thought LaFleur called excellent games and like many of his players, he appears to be peaking at the right time.

I am confident that this Green Bay Packers team will be prepared and ready to go on Sunday. And I also expect that we will see a few things offensively that LaFleur didn’t show anyone during the regular season.

What will we see from Aaron Rodgers?

Stat-wise it’s been a very average season for Aaron Rodgers but over the last two games of the regular season, we saw quite a few more head-scratching throws and decisions made by him. In total against Minnesota and Detroit, Rodgers completed only 55.8 percent of his throws at a measly 5.6 yards per attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions. But to his credit, in the second half of each of those games, he stepped up when Green Bay needed him most.

So it’s fair to wonder what kind of performance we will see from him against Seattle. But with that said, I definitely think the potential is there for a big game from him.

Next. 3 Reasons Packers will Beat Seattle. dark

As I mentioned above, Aaron Jones could be a weapon in the passing game and overall this is a Seattle defense that has allowed the sixth most passing yards per game. Not to mention that they’ve struggled to pressure the quarterback, meaning behind this stout Packer offensive line, Rodgers should have plenty of time. And who knows, maybe we see playoff mode Aaron Rodgers activated on Sunday?