Victory over the Seattle Seahawks could make a difference in January for the Green Bay Packers, just as defeat to the same opponents did three years ago.
Before the NFC Championship Game debacle in Seattle four months later, the Packers’ defeat at CenturyLink Field was a difference maker in 2014.
The Seahawks were dominant in the regular season opener that year, beginning their Super Bowl defense with a crushing 36-16 victory over the Pack. At the time it just looked like a bad performance that could soon be forgotten. Yet when it came to playoff seeding, it mattered.
Both teams sat at 12-4 at the conclusion of the regular season, but the Seahawks’ victory over the Packers in Week 1 meant the NFC ran through CenturyLink, not Lambeau during the postseason. Green Bay was a perfect 9-0 at home, and the story could have been very different had the NFC title game taken place inside the Frozen Tundra.
This past Sunday’s win was Green Bay’s third straight over Seattle. Any victory over a fellow NFC heavyweight is important, but this one could again have major consequences in the postseason. If the first seed comes down to a tiebreaker between these two, the advantage will be with Mike McCarthy’s team this time.
And given the success of the home team in the Packers-Seahawks rivalry of late, it could make all the difference deep into the playoffs.
Speaking of which…
The streak continues
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The past seven games between the Packers and Seahawks have resulted in victory for the home team. Sunday’s win over Seattle was the third in as many years for Green Bay, all taking place at Lambeau Field.
The three games prior were at CenturyLink Field — including the “Fail Mary” and NFC Championship Game in 2014 — all ending in defeat.
This might not be a good time to note that next year’s meeting between the Packers and Seahawks takes place in Seattle.
Martellus Bennett stands up for his quarterback
Flags are frustrating, especially when they are easily avoidable. But sometimes the penalty is worth it. In Martellus Bennett‘s case, standing up for his quarterback was more important than the 15 yards.
As Aaron Rodgers scrambled for a first down with little over three minutes remaining in regulation, he was hit late by Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright. Due to the fact Rodgers didn’t slide and instead opted to dive head first, Wright’s tackle was deemed to be fair.
Bennett disagreed. Immediately after the play the Packers’ new tight end jumped to his quarterback’s defense, shoving Wright to the ground.
A flag was immediately thrown for unnecessary roughness. The first down stood but the Packers were backed up 15 yards.
“I support Marty 100 percent in just about anything he does,” Rodgers said postgame. “He backed me up today on that scramble. Marty and I have become fast friends, and I respect him a lot.”
Many will be critical of Bennett’s decision in the heat of battle, but it’s that competitive fire that makes him so special. It was only his first regular season game alongside Rodgers, but Bennett wasn’t allowing anyone to take a shot at his new quarterback.