NFC Championship game Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

2 time zones and the small matter of a 1,933 mile drive separate the frozen tundra of Wisconsin from the temperate (and more often than not soggy) Pacific Northwest geographically but football-wise it’s each team’s ability to run the football and stop the run that is separates them this season. The Seahawks lead the league in rush yards and their defence was the hardest to run against in the NFL this season too. The Packers on the other hand finished the regular season with the 11th best rushing average on offence and rather worryingly the 23rd tightest run defence in the league, although it should be pointed out that the Packers inability to stop the run is largely a by-product of Nose Tackle B.J Raji missing the entire season with a torn bicep.
The Seahawks have not lost a game since Middle Linebacker Bobby Wagner returned from injury on week 12 and since his return they’ve only conceded 56points at an average of 8 per game. Russell Wilson hasn’t lost to Aaron Rodgers in their 2 previous meetings and the Packers haven’t won in Seattle since 2009, so there’s not much reason for optimism for the boys from back East. In fact things look so bleak for the Packers injuries are one of the few things that could assist them, the Seahawks have 15 players on Injured Reserve and a further 8 players missing from practice this week while the Packers only have 10 on Injured reserve and 4 who have missed practice but 2 of them will definitely play because if Eddie Lacey and Aaron Rodgers can stand up they’ll be on the field. The Seahawks have got a particular injury problem on defence where they have 6 defensive linemen on IR and 3 linebackers also missing. The only other issue the Seahawks have experienced this season is ill discipline, they were the most penalised team in the NFL during the regular season and if Rodgers and the Packers are able to keep the score tight and build a bit of tension then they could benefit from some of the ticky-tacky refereeing calls these playoffs are in danger of being remembered for.
The Packers haven’t really got much going for them in this match-up and unless Aaron Rodgers is 100% fit (which he probably isn’t) there’s nothing to suggest the Packers season won’t finish where it started on the 4th of September last year with a 20 point loss in front of the “12th man” at CenturyLink Field. The thing about Rodgers and the Packers is they’re scrappers and with the officiating we’ve seen this postseason it’s far from certain. For what it’s worth the Packers pass rush should be able to cause the Seahawks offensive line and Russell Wilson some problems but it won’t help them stop Marshawn Lynch if he turns on his “Beastmode”.

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