Week 2 of the 2015 NFL regular season for the Seattle Seahawks takes them on the road for a rematch of the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers but this time it will be at legendary Lambeau Field. The Packers hold a 10-8 series advantage with the Seahawks, with Seattle winning the last meeting in the conference title game, 28-22 in overtime at CenturyLink Field on Jan. 18.
The Seahawks were all over the map with their play in a season-opening 34-31 loss in St. Louis last Sunday. Offensively, the pass protection had its issues, as expected, as the Rams were in Russell Wilson’s face non-stop, collecting six sacks. And when the Rams did not get to him they were getting plenty of shots at him. In the passing game as a whole Wilson was very accurate, completing 32 of 41 attempts for 251 yards and new tight end Jimmy Graham did get involved with six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. However, the defense was the true disappointment and it was more than just Kam Chancellor not being in the secondary, as the tackling was horrendous. It will not matter how long Chancellor holds out if the front seven can't do its part when it comes to making the stop or brining an opposing ball carrier down to the turf.
Green Bay continued its mastery of NFC North archrival Chicago in a 31-23 road victory last Sunday. Aaron Rodgers was efficient in the passing game, throwing for 189 yards and three touchdowns, as the Packers' offense was successful in its first game without wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Eddie Lacy helped out nicely in the running game chipping in 85 yards on 19 carries, which kept the Bears at bay defensively. Defensively, the Packers kept quarterback Jay Cutler in check like they always do, but did allow Matt Forte to run for 141 yards on 24 carries. So of course they will have to be on guard for a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch Sunday night.
Seattle at Green Bay
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Sunday)
TV Channel: NBC
Spread: Green Bay -3.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Pete Carroll
After another illogical decision at the start of the overtime to have kicker Steven Hauschka do a horrendously executed onside kick that effectively gave away the game to St. Louis. It is high time for Carroll to stop acting hormonal now with the pass at the one-yard line in the Super Bowl instead of giving Marshawn Lynch the ball and this botched onside kick decision. If Carroll continues to put the team in tough situations by taking illogical risks at the wrong time you could put very easily see the Seahawks implode and underachieve with a 9-7 or 10-6 type of season in 2015 instead of making a serious push to get back back to a third straight Super Bowl.
2. Marshawn Lynch
Lynch grinded out 73 yards on 18 carries against the Rams and was given the ball on the 4th-and-1 play in overtime at St. Louis' 42-yard line. Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell is going to need to feed Lynch heavily as the Packers showed in Week 1 that they can be susceptible to the run and continue to shut out the outside noise, such as Lynch’s mom Delisa calling for Bevell’s firing this past week. Lynch just needs to continue to be Beast Mode and pound on the Green Bay defense all game long and wear them down in the second half.
3. Aaron Rodgers vs. Seahawks' Defense
With Kam Chancellor out it is going to be fascinating to see how Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers attack the Seattle secondary. Nick Foles was able to get his share of big plays against the Seahawks last Sunday, so the vulnerability is very real for this defense. Without the presence of Jordy Nelson as a deep threat look for a steady diet of Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and James Jones, who had four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago. Also, Rodgers is going to attack Richard Sherman to some degree, especially if the Seahawks have to move Sherman around from his usual left cornerback position.
Logic says that Green Bay should beat Seattle by double figures as everything is aligned for the Packers to do so with the Seahawks in a heightened state of chaos. But, the Seahawks during the reign of Pete Carroll have defied logic and the odds whenever their backs have been against the wall over the past couple of seasons. Thus, Seattle is going to find a way to get the game into the fourth quarter with a chance to win but will fall short. They will fall short as this time Aaron Rodgers will have the ball in his hands with Green Bay leading by one score and, unlike the game on Sept. 24, 2012, will get the first down needed to salt away the game. It is very simple Seattle is the underdog and not expected to win and the Packers and their fans especially have absolutely zero excuses for not beating the Seahawks on Sunday night.
Prediction: Packers 23, Seahawks 17
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and also writes for College Sports Madness, covering college football, basketball, softball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter @scottwhittum.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)