Posted on November 14, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Aaron Rodgers will tell anyone that dares to utter the words ‘must-win game’ when talking about Thursday night’s game to relax. While he would be right since there will be six more games to play, the game is an important one for the Packers (4-4-1) and Seahawks (4-5).
Neither looks like they are going to win their division this year (although Green Bay is still within reach in the NFC North). But if either is going to have a good shot at winning a wild card, losing will really hurt their chances.
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So—who’s going to win?
Much of the focus heading into the game is going to be on each team’s respective passing game— and with due reason. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are two of the best in the business. However, while both head up good passing attacks, the key for both is going to be the run game.
Since Marshawn Lynch left, the Seahawks have been leaning on Russell Wilson and the passing game. However, this season, the Seahawks appear to have found a running game again. While they have been using several different players in the role, they haven’t exactly been using the running back by committee approach.
Injuries have forced them to make use of Chris Carson, Mike Davis, and rookie Rashaad Penny when they have been available. So far, it seems to be working. Between the three, Russell Wilson, and the occasional run by a wide receiver they have the No. 1 run game in the NFL (152.2 yards/game).
While Green Bay hasn’t had nearly as much sustained success in the run game, there rushing attack has been coming on strong of late. Last week against the Miami Dolphins, Aaron Jones ran for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries.
With both defenses giving up around 120 yards a game on the ground, it would not be shocking to see both teams emphasize the run with just enough passing to keep the defense honest.
What will be interesting to see is if either defense tries to stack the box against the run. Doing so could leave their secondaries vulnerable. While both have played well this season, Green Bay has had some injuries in the secondary and Seattle’s is very young. Either could be ripe for a veteran quarterback to pick apart.
If that ends up being the case, then the Packers will have the edge. Rodgers never really missed a beat after spraining his knee in the season opener. But he appears to be fine now and is playing with as much efficiency as ever (just one interception this season). With his experience and the talent he has at wide receiver, it is not hard to imagine him picking apart Seattle’s young secondary.
Seattle is favored by 2.5 points. While this will be a close game, don’t be surprised if it is Green Bay winning by three instead.