Scouting the Seattle Seahawks
Seattle finished last season 18th in the NFL in offense, averaging 339 yards per game, and tied eighth in scoring with Green Bay with a 26.1 points per game average.
A healthy Percy Harvin adds another playmaker to the Seahawks offense and should make them more dynamic this year. Defenses will also have to account for Seattle’s bevy of young backs behind starter Marshawn Lynch.
Quarterback – Third-year man Russell Wilson is a rising star in this league and one of the best situational passers in today’s NFL. In 2013, Wilson finished the year with a respectable 101.2 passer rating and 26 passing touchdowns, demonstrating the ability to make all of the tough throws at crucial points in the game.
Wilson is at his best rolling out of the pocket. He can sling the ball downfield while on the run or he can beat you with his legs. The Packers will have their hands full containing the young athletic quarterback. Green Bay’s pass rushers will need to be disciplined Thursday night and keep Wilson from flushing out of the pocket.
Running Back - All three of Seattle’s running backs are powerful runners and around the 5-foot-10, 220-pound mark. Lynch is still one of the most dangerous backs in the NFL and has topped the 1,200-yard mark each of the past three seasons.
With B.J. Raji on IR, the Packers are going into Thursday night a little light on the defensive line. It will take a group effort from the Packers defense to keep Seattle’s ground game from controlling the pace of this game.
Receiver – Seattle only ranked 26th last year in passing (202 ypg), but that doesn’t mean they don’t have weapons at wide receiver. Harvin is dangerous in the open field, but he only played in one game last year because of injury. Green Bay will have to be careful not to let Harvin’s playmaking ability sneak up on them.
Doug Baldwin was Seattle’s top receiver last season and is quick and speedy on the outside. At 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds, Jermaine Kearse has size and will play a bigger role in Seattle’s offense this year. Rookie Paul Richardson has blazing speed and has the potential of being a downfield threat.
The Packers have the talent at defensive back to handle Seattle’s receivers, but the real matchup to watch is how well Green Bay’s linebackers and safeties handle Seattle tight end Zach Miller. Miller has proven to be a reliable pass catcher over the middle of the field and could cause problems for the Packers defense.
Offensive Line – Seattle finished last season fourth in the NFL in rushing, averaging 137 yards per game on the ground thanks to their tough and rugged offensive line. However, Seattle’s line did allow 44 sacks last season. Pass protection seems to be the biggest question mark on this team going into the 2014 season and could be a weakness Green Bay could exploit with Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers rushing off the edge.
In an effort to improve their line, Seattle got rid of last year’s biggest culprits in pass protection in Beno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan. Instead, the Seahawks will rely on rookie Justin Britt at right tackle and second-year starter J.R. Sweezy at right guard. With veterans Russell Okung and James Carpenter holding down the left side of the line and Max Unger a stalwart at center, the Packers would be wise to test the young duo on the right side of Seattle’s line.
Packers’ pass rushers Peppers, Mike Neal, and Mike Daniels could have big days against Seattle’s young offensive linemen. Green Bay might even move Matthews over on the left side at times to match up against Britt.