1) Where in the World is Clay Matthews?
– Clay Matthews has been a force in this league since his arrival as a first round selection out of USC. Already off to a torrid start this season with 6 sacks in 2 games, its imperative the Seahawks identify and communicate his location on the field at all times. Not to diminish the fact that all of Green Bay’s front 7 can get to the passer, it starts with Matthews. Line calls, and checks by Russell Wilson will prove vital to the Seahawks ability to handle the Packers ferocious pass rush.
2) Opposites Day
– It’s pretty obvious that a key for both teams to be successful will be trying to offset each other’s strengths, and force each other into their supposed weaknesses. For Green Bay, look to Seattle to play aggressive man-coverage and force the Pack to beat them with the run, while it’s the other way for the Packers. Stop the run, and make Seattle beat them with a rookie QB. What may be surprising to both teams, and their respective fan bases, is that both of these ‘weaknesses’ could end up being keys to victory. Russell Wilson flashed signs of brilliance in the preseason, while Cedric Benson had yet once again been left for dead, however comes out and shocks everyone with his continued physical running style and is now the Packers featured back. Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch may be the keys for each team’s defense, but watch out for Russell Wilson and Cedric Benson as well.
3) The Legion of Boom
– Green Bay will assault its opponents with aerial efficiency and domination. With 5 readily capable WR’s in Greg Jennings (who is said to be active tonight), Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver, and the ever-dangerous Randall Cobb, the barrage won’t stop here. With that, it’s up to Seattle’s feared defensive backfield to take the proverbial ‘wind’ out of the Packers offensive ‘sails’ with its usual physical, bruising style of play. The unit’s cohesiveness and ability to communicate effectively throughout the ballgame will determine the ability Green Bay has to move the ball through the air. Look for a lot of nickel and dime packages from the Seahawks as they try to create difficult matchups for the quick, yet undersized Packer receiving corps. Pressing receivers at the line, and disguised blitzes will certainly force the decisive Aaron Rodgers into thinking twice before he throws the ball. A pass-rushers dream.
4) Hit em’ in the Mouth
– Seattle’s offensive line was marvelous last week against the Cowboys. The Seahawks were able to march the ball down the field with its physical running game, and efficient passing attack. The recipe Pete Carroll has been developing since his arrival. While Dallas is no slouch up front on defense, Green Bay is a different animal. The 3-4 attack style defense they play causes nightmares for opposing D-coordinators. Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, B.J. Raji, and co. are going to key on stopping the run on 1st and 2nd down, and forcing the ‘Hawks into 3rd and longs with the hope they can rattle Russell Wilson into making rookie mistakes. A nice game plan, certainly. What will be key is the Seahawks O-lines’ ability to once again punch the opposition in the mouth play after play. Out playing them with the physical, deflating style that has become their identity. The Seahawks have good depth on the line, and reports that Russell Okung is said to be back healthy only adds to this key factor for victory. As the old football adage goes, “So what if they know what we’re going to run, they still have to stop us.” If the O-Line looks like it did last week, good luck to you Green Bay.
5) The 12th Man + Monday Night Football > Ear-Popping Decibels
– So, we’re right up against it 12th Man. Monday Night Football returns to Seattle. John Gruden loves coming here, as much as he loves our new QB. It’s always a blast to hear him talk about how great the atmosphere is at the Clink, and that’s because of you my friends. I can only imagine the walk up to the stadium as kick-off approaches. 1st Avenue will be an avalanche of both confidence, and hope. A statement win on National T.V. brings the Seahawks to the forefront of the already hot button topic of the surprising NFC West. The nation will be watching 12th Man. Let’s let em’ hear it as well.