There were few NFL teams as active with player additions as Seattle was heading into the post-season, and coach Pete Carroll hopes his aggressive moves will make a difference in Sunday’s Seahawks-Packers NFC Divisional Playoff game. As it is, Seattle will need all the advantages they can get as they head into Lambeau Field as a 4-point underdog in a game where the over/under is set at 45.5 points.
Carroll had the luxury of grabbing some key players this season. In September, the team was able to trade for Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. He recorded a sack in the wild-card victory over Philadelphia, but Carroll told reporters on Monday that just his presence helps his teammates.
“Jadeveon Clowney was really a factor,” Carroll said. “Everybody worked and everybody contributed. Again, his activity just adds to the factor and we’ve seen that before. He had a really good football game, run and pass. I think that’s clearly what happened. You saw everybody was active. I think if there’s one thing though, I think his impact was really noticeable.”
Beast Mode Re-Engaged
Another key acquisition for Seattle was the return of running back Marshawn Lynch two days before Christmas. The former All-Pro hadn’t played in a year, and has been rusty. He only had seven yards on six carries in the victory over the Eagles last weekend. As a back up to rookie Travis Homer, Carroll believes Lynch can contribute more to the team on Sunday.
“Marshawn made it through again where he felt fine,” Carroll said. “I’m hoping he’ll be more involved from this point forward … Marshawn will play more. He’s going to play more this week, he’s ready to, and he’s had enough time with us. He feels confident about what he’s doing and the plan. We can get him in and out of there, and have those two guys really go at it.”
Homer is one of two rookies that have made immediate contributions this season for Seattle. The other is wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. He led all pass catchers on wild-card weekend with 160 receiving yards on seven catches.
Time Not on Rodgers’ Side
Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game marks the first time in three years that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in the post-season. The goal this year is to win his second Super Bowl. At age 36, he told reporters on Friday, time is running out.
‘It’s on my mind every day,” Rodgers said. ”That’s why we play the game, that’s why you put in the time in the offseason. That’s why you do the little things. It’s to put yourself in this position where we’re two games away from being able to compete for that.”
The season began with questions about his relationship with his new coach, Matt LaFleur. It has evolved into the Packers having 7/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. Rodgers doesn’t want to waste any chances he has to get back to the big game.
“This is an important opportunity for us. I feel like I got a lot of really good years left, but you never know. A lot of things happen year to year. We’ve had some great teams that have been an injury away or a play away from being special, so I want to make the most of this opportunity.”