Game Preview - Seahawks vs. Packers

Sunday will be the 12th meeting between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, with the Packers holding the regular series edge, 6-5. Green Bay has won two of the last three meetings, though Seattle won the last meeting in Seattle, 34-24 on November 27, 2006.

Injury Report

Green Bay Packers

Out: CB Al Harris (spleen)
Doubtful: S Atari Bigby (hamstring), DE Jason Hunter (hamstring), DE Mike Montgomery (ankle)
Questionable: WR James Jones (knee), CB Patrick Lee (back), DT Ryan Pickett (knee)
Probable: T Chad Clifton (hamstring), RB Korey Hall (knee), LB A.J. Hawk (groin), QB Aaron Rodgers (right shoulder), S Aaron Rouse (knee), CB Charles Woodson (toe)

Seattle Seahawks

Questionable: QB Matt Hasselbeck (knee), QB Seneca Wallace (calf), WR Deion Branch (heel)
Probable: LB Leroy Hill (knee), CB Kelly Jennings (ribs), T Walter Jones (not injury related), RB Maurice Morris (knee), WR Koren Robinson (knee)

Statistical Rankings

Green Bay Packers

Offense

Total: 11th (337.4 yards per game)
Passing: 8th (241.8 yards per game)
Rushing: 23rd (95.6 yards per game)
Scoring: 8th (26.6 points per game)

Defense

Total: 26th (363.2 yards per game)
Passing: 13th (201.8 yards per game)
Rushing: 27th (161.4 yards per game)
Scoring: 23rd (25.6 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: +3

Seattle Seahawks

Offense

Total Yards: 22nd (299.2 yards per game)
Passing: 28th (156.0 yards per game)
Rushing: 6th (143.2 yards per game)
Scoring: t-18th (20.8 points per game)

Defense

Total: 27th (366.5 yards per game)
Passing: 25th (237.0 yards per game)
Rushing: 24th (129.5 yards per game)
Scoring: 29th (31.0 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: -4

Five to Watch

Here are five items worth keeping an eye on when the Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Charlie Frye - The Seahawks third-string quarterback is the likely starter with Matt Hasselbeck's right knee not responding to treatment the way the training staff had hoped. With Frye starting, expect a conservative play-calling approach from Mike Holmgren, which may have been the plan even if Hasselbeck were healthy enough to play.

Greg Jennings/Donald Driver vs. Josh Wilson/Marcus Trufant – Packers third-year wide receiver Greg Jennings has developed into one of the NFL's top receivers. Jennings is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch and has a healthy lead over the rest of the NFL in receiving yards. Both receivers have a rare combination of size, speed and ability to run after the catch, and containing them will be a challenge for a struggling Seahawks secondary.

Seahawks Pass Rush – Seattle's front seven can help the secondary by pressuring Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who hasn't been throwing in practice to rest an injured right shoulder. Rodgers is a mobile quarterback who has shown an ability to make plays with his legs, so Seattle's pass rushers need to stay disciplined.

A Healthy Dose of Jones – In his 4 career games at Qwest Field, Julius Jones has averaged 144.3 yards per game. With Hasselbeck sidelined, Seattle could use an effort like that to help keep the season from slipping away from them. Even if Jones doesn't maintain that average, running the ball, controlling the clock and keeping Rodgers and the talented Packers wide receivers on the sidelines would appear to be the approach offensively.

Stop Ryan Grant – After Grant ran for over 200 yards on the Seahawks run defense in the divisional playoff game last January, the Seahawks probably don't need to be reminded to keep an eye on him. The Packers ground game has struggled this season (23rd in the NFL, 95.8 yards per game), mainly due to Grant dealing with a lingering hamstring injury. Grant has really struggled to get going on the road, carrying the ball 30 times for 40 yards in the Packers two road games.

Programming Notes

FOX has dispatched "Best Damned Sports Show" host Chris Rose to Seattle to call the game alongside analyst J.C. Pearson. Nischelle Turner will provide updates from the sidelines.

Holmgren vs. Green Bay

Including the post-season, Sunday will be the 7th time Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren will face his former team since leaving Green Bay after the 1998 season. Holmgren is 2-4 against Green Bay, though Sunday will be just the second time Holmgren has faced the Packers outside of Lambeau Field.

Prediction

It's probably too "outside-the-box" for Mike Holmgren, but I've been secretly hoping to see the Seahawks unveil a "Full House" backfield this season. Imagine fullbacks Leonard Weaver and Owen Schmitt lined up in front of Julius Jones, Maurice Morris or T.J. Duckett and the Seahawks just wearing down their opponents with the power running game.

That's unlikely to happen, but if the Seahawks want to win, they're going to need to run the ball and stick to the run even if they fall behind early. Seattle doesn't have the quarterback, wide receivers or secondary to get into a shootout with Green Bay, so I expect Seattle to control the clock with the ground game, wearing down the Packers and keep Rodgers & Co. on the sidelines for 35-40 minutes. Prediction: Seahawks 23, Packers 20


Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.


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