Green Bay Packers v. Seahawks: 5 Big Questions Ahead of Matchup

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talk after the Green Bay Packers 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.Packers13 14 Wood
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talk after the Green Bay Packers 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.Packers13 14 Wood /
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Green Bay Packers nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) pressures Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the first half during their NFC divisional round playoff football game Sunday, January 12, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packvsseahawks 0112200901 /

Can the special teams unit hold up even a little?

I know this is a big ask on my part, but this group just simply has to be better. This Green Bay Packers special teams unit has struggled all season, ranking 32nd by PFF’s metrics and 30th by Football Outsiders, but last week, this unit literally cost Green Bay the game. The Packers would lose by six, and two missed field goals along with a muffed punt resulted in nine points lost.

Mason Crosby has already missed six field goals this season, although I’m not sure if any are his fault. There have been poor snaps, questionable holds, and the opposing team has been able to generate pressure with regularity.

"“We are working towards that, and we will get that done,” said Maurice Drayton via Packers.com. “We’re going to get it fixed. Committed to it. Have to. Mason Crosby deserves better. OK? I owe him. We owe him. We’re going to make it happen.”"

We’ve also seen Amari Rodgers struggle with returning punts, whether that be fielding them or trying to get some positive yardage. The kick return unit struggles to get past the 25-yard line, and the kick coverage unit is allowing 24.2 yards per return, the 10th most in football.

Maurice Drayton calls the special teams room the “Truth Room,” and if that’s the case, I imagine there are some difficult conversations being had because what we’ve seen has not been good–like at all. And that starts with Drayton.

Can the Green Bay Packers defense contain Russell Wilson?

Russell Wilson is back under center for Seattle after an IR stint, and being able to pressure him and keep him in the pocket is going to be crucial for this Green Bay Packers’ defense. As Preston Smith said following the Packers’ 2020 Divisional Round win over Seattle, trying to catch Wilson is like “chasing a chicken in a field with no fence.”

As we’ve seen in the past, if Wilson is able to break contain and extend plays, it is going to create problems for the secondary that is up against an explosive passing game–more on this shortly. While the Green Bay cornerbacks have held up very well during Jaire Alexander’s absence, asking them to cover for 5+ seconds is a recipe for disaster against Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Rashan Gary and Smith are going to have to seal the edge while the interior defensive line is going to have to generate a push–and they may have to do so without Kenny Clark, who is listed as questionable. This is a Seattle offensive line that ranks 23rd in pass-blocking by PFF and 15th in that same category by ESPN.

"“It’ll change the way you rush a little bit, because you have to be cautious of where he’s at, but also you can’t rush scared,” said OLB coach Mike Smith via Packers.com. “That’s my biggest thing. You go into a game and you rush scared and you’re sitting there peeking at the line of scrimmage and looking, you’re making it easy for him. We have to understand what front we’re in and take calculated risks when we get after him. He’s definitely a guy you have to worry about for sure.”"

In the last two weeks, this Green Bay defense has faced similar challenges against Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes and did a fine job of keeping those two in the pocket, but Wilson may present the Packers with their biggest challenge yet.

"“The thing about Russell, I think besides Lamar (Jackson), he’s the best in the league,” said Mike Smith. “He’s not overly fast guy but he’s super athletic. He’s bigger than what you think, lower body, he’s always ducking down, spinning, giving you the pump fake. He’s a weapon back there. It’s important for the back end to plaster with these receivers when he does get out. We don’t want him to get out, but if he does there’s a reason … you pull up the film and there’s seven to 10 different scrambles a game against everybody they play. It’s easier said than done. We have to do our best to keep him in there.”"