Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) visit Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (4-5) in a must-win game for both teams with their eyes on a wild card berth.
The winner of this Thursday Night Football game will head over .500, while the loser takes another step backward in their pursuit of a postseason spot and a shot at the Super Bowl.
“We both need wins to stay alive in the playoff picture,” said Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. “It’s a pivotal game.”
Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
Kickoff: 5:20pm PT
Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Point Spread: Seattle -3
The South Point Casino in Las Vegas listed the Packers at 25-1 odds to win the Super Bowl and the Seahawks are 250-1.
Four years ago, these two teams were at the peak of their powers and met in the NFC Championship game. The Seahawks bested the Packers 28-22 in overtime in that classic duel. Despite the win in OT, the Seahawks went on to lose in Super Bowl XLIX to the Patriots.
Times have changed since then, especially in Seattle. Team owner Paul Allen passed away earlier this season. The Legion of Boom is nevermore. Beastmode is no longer running rampant in Seattle.
The Seahawks are a 3-point favorite at home, where the struggled this season. With a 1-2 record, the Seahawks proved they are vulnerable at CenturyLink Field, which is feared as one of the loudest stadiums in football.
The Packers are in the middle of the pack with 24 ppg allowed, while the Seahawks allow only 21.3 points per game, or ninth best in the NFL.
In a season where teams are racking up points, the Packers are only 13th overall with 24.8 ppg. The Seahawks are right behind with 24.3 ppg.
Even with a sprained knee, Russell Wilson played through his injury. Russell tossed 21 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions. Rodgers threw 17 touchdowns with only one pick, but he’s struggling a bit with a 61% completion rate.
Rodgers and Who?
Aaron Rodgers takes his cast of unknowns receivers into Seattle. He’s done this all season. Rodgers went to Hollywood to battle the high-flying Rams. And his rag-tag WR corps hung on tight in that game. The Rams beat the Packers, but Rodgers and company proved they could hang with the best and it took a freak play from Ty Montgomery to seal the Packers fate that day.
Sure, everyone knows Davante Adams (62 catches, 9 TDs). But that’s when things get a little fuzzy on the depth chart. Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison (groin/hamstring) battled injuries all season. Allison is officially on the IR and could return if the Packers advance to the post season. Cobb has been hampered by a nagging hamstring.
Rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown are among the most challenging names to spell on the Packers roster. Valdes Scantling caught three touchdowns and 402 yards and coming out of South Florida, he’s not as big of a name as his fellow rookie wideout St. Brown from Notre Dame. This season, St. Brown has yet to find the endzone, but he’s expected to play a key role with Allison out.
The press will hype up the Rodgers vs. Wilson angle, but the outcome of the match up will come down to the running game. Who’s going to be more effective? Both teams struggle to stop the run and have better pass defenses.
Pete Carroll reverted to his old-school playbook of a solid rushing attack, moving the chains, milking the clock, and controlling the tempo of the game. His own running game found his stride, but the Seahawks run D is suspect.
The Seahawks opted for a running back by committee to start the season. Chris Carson (497 yards, 2 TD) has become the primary weapon with three 100+ yard rushing games this season. Carson missed last week’s game with a hip injury, but rookie Rashad Penny stepped up with 108 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Packers running game perked up in recent weeks. Aaron Jones (494 yards and 4 TDs), a second-year RB out of UTEP, has been their go-to guy the last three weeks. Jones posted an outstanding game against the Dolphins with a career-high 145 yards on only 15 attempts plus two scores.