Green Bay Packers v. Seattle: Behind Enemy Lines Week 10

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the fourth quarter against Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the fourth quarter against Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off a loss in Kansas City, the Green Bay Packers are hopeful that Aaron Rodgers will be back under center for a Week 10 tilt with the 3-5 Seattle Seahawks–although, while the team does seem quite hopeful, it’s still not a guarantee at this point as Rodgers still has to undergo testing and get medical clearance to play.

The Seahawks, however, do know that their star quarterback will be under center. After missing several games with a finger injury, Russell Wilson will make his return. Not to mention that Seattle is coming off their bye week and has had extra time to prepare for this matchup as well.

To help us familiarize ourselves with the upcoming opponent, I am once again going Behind Enemy Lines, and this time with the help of Lee Vowel of 12th Man Rising, where they cover anything and everything about the Seattle Seahawks. Lee was kind enough to answer of few of my questions to provide some added insight into this Seahawks team.

We know Russell Wilson has missed time, but catch us up on the good and bad that has taken place this season?

Lee: It is easy to say there hasn’t been a lot of good as the Seahawks are 3-5 and the defense was terrible again to start the season. One of the most disappointing aspects of the season has been the way it started. Coming into the season Seattle had most of the same defensive players that ended 2020 and the defense was much better in the second half of last year than the first. But just like last year, the defense fell on its proverbial face and was terrible against the pass. The pass rush was bad and Jamal Adams not only wasn’t getting any pressure on opposing quarterbacks but was embarrassing in coverage. Then Russell Wilson and Chris Carson got hurt and the offense wasn’t good enough without them to overcome the Steelers or the Saints.

There have been some positives to come out of the first half of the season, though. Edge rusher Darrell Taylor (in what is basically his rookie season after he missed his real one in 2020 with an injury) has been by far Seattle’s best pass rusher and leads Seattle in quarterback hits, sacks and tackles for loss. Rookie corner Tre Brown has been better and better since he started playing in week 6. And, of course, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have been spectacular as expected. They just need a healthy Wilson to get them the ball more.

Who is a player on offense and defense that Green Bay Packers fans may not be familiar with, but could make an impact on Sunday?

Lee: Offensively, most of Seattle’s most productive players are well known. That said, receiver Freddie Swain seems to have a moment or two every game where he makes a nice catch. He can also run after the catch and has the ability to break off a long run. He’s also pretty good at returning punts. He might not take one back for a touchdown, but he consistently gets 10 yards or so and helps create better field position. He won’t lead Seattle in targets in week 10 but he could make a splash play or two.

Defensively, besides Taylor who I have already mentioned, second-year linebacker Jordyn Brooks is starting to play much better. He isn’t K.J. Wright, at least not yet, but he certainly has the speed to run sideline to sideline and doesn’t miss on tackles. In fact, this year he has whiffed on just 1.4 percent of his tackle attempts. He is also beginning to be a bit more comfortable in coverage and has the athletic ability to cover tight ends well. He isn’t perfect yet but he is getting better. Brooks already has been in on 71 tackles this year which is 14th in the NFL. The Seahawks also seem to be getting more comfortable in sending him on blitzes.

Do you anticipate there being any rust for Wilson and this Seattle offense with the time he’s missed? Or will Seattle pick up where they left off?

Lee: This is a great question and the biggest unknown of the game for Seattle. Wilson’s middle finger injury is complex and substantial. When a ball is thrown, the middle finger is extremely important in accuracy and accuracy is one of Wilson’s strengths. The question is how close to being fully healthy Wilson is? If he is 90 percent, great. If he is 50 percent against a good Packers defense, that’s bad.

The other issue is that the offense this season even with Russell Wilson has been very inconsistent. Early in the season, they’d be good for one half and bad in the next in the same game. This clearly is a coaching issue and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is new to calling plays not having done that with the Rams prior to coming to Seattle. Wilson might return at 90 percent but unless the play calling is more consistent Wilson’s return won’t matter all that much.

What is the strength and weakness of this Seahawks team?

Lee: The biggest strength of the Seahawks is still the trio of Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on offense. Special teams have underperformed this year and every single player on defense, except Bobby Wagner, has some kind of weakness. But if Wilson is on, one or both of Metcalf and Lockett are going to have a big day.

Teams have focused more on Metcalf this year which is a little odd as leaving Lockett in single coverage has resulted in Lockett having a near-perfect passer rating when targeted against single coverage. Honestly, the best way of stopping Seattle is having two good safeties because that seems to confuse Wilson a bit and he holds on to the ball longer trying to hit Lockett or Metcalf deep. Still, those three are the strength of the team.

What is Seattle’s path to victory over Green Bay look like?

Lee: Seattle has to be able to run the ball well and consistently well. There is a chance that Chris Carson returns this week but that is unlikely. This means Alex Collins will be the main back again with Rashaad Penny (who has been amazingly bad since returning from injury once again this season) will be the backup.

But Green Bay has been better against the run lately so there is no guarantee running the ball will work. At least, not the traditional way of running the ball. Wilson can still run so Seattle needs to use a lot more RPOs than they have. Wilson keeping the ball instead of simply handing it off would be nice.

Defensively, Seattle needs to prove the last few weeks of being better isn’t a fluke. There cannot be many communication breakdowns in the secondary or Aaron Rodgers (assuming he plays) will have a huge day. And Seattle has to get some kind of pass rush going from anyone not named Darrell Taylor. Of course, the Packers can run decently as well but Seattle has done a relatively good job in that department.