Last Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks knocked off the Carolina Panthers, bringing an end to their season. This Sunday, the Seahawks will, for the second consecutive year, be playing in the N.F.C. Championship game.
The Seahawks were overwhelming favorites in a matchup against a team that was strategy-wise described as their cousin. They were predicted to dominate the Carolina Panthers – and they did just that. With some Kam-on-Cam crime, the Seahawks put the icing on the cake, and ended the Panthers’ season, winning by a score of 31-17.
Seattle’s strong safety Kam Chancellor had the game of his life, and picked off Carolina QB Cam Newton in the red zone, and marched the ball all the way down the field for a touchdown. That wasn’t his only highlight of the night: Chancellor jumped over the offensive and defensive lines to block a kick – twice, and nearly did so. Seattle’s defense put a stranglehold on Carolina, and didn’t allow them to get into a rhythm. Seattle All-Pro CB Richard Sherman grabbed his first career playoff interception early in the game.
The Seattle offense was brilliant, as well. WR Jermaine Kearse made a ridiculous one handed catch and ran it all the way to the end zone for a score. Doug Baldwin also had a touchdown, as did Canada’s export to the Seahawks, TE Luke Wilson. Surprisingly, there was a lot of throwing in this game, and both QBs combined for over 500 passing yards. Russell Wilson finished with 268 passing yards, along with 3 touchdowns, as well as 22 yards rushing.
Game Day: January 18, 2015
Kickoff: 12:05 P.M. PST
Seahawks: Regular season 12-4, Post season 1-0
Packers: Regular season 12-4, Post season 1-0
This Sunday, Aaron Rodgers will bring his Green Bay Packers, as well as their legion of Cheeseheads, to Seattle. This will be a rematch of their season opening showdown – however, both teams are different this time around. Seattle has been scorching hot, and is coming off of a dominant performance over the Carolina Panthers. Seattle has won 10 of their past 11. Green Bay is coming off of a tough win over the Dallas Cowboys, and are winners of 8 of their past 9 games.
Seattle will bring the pain with Marshawn Lynch and test the Green Bay run defense. Green Bay’s run defense looked decent against the Cowboys, but allowed Dallas RB DeMarco Murray to rush for 123 yards and a score. DeMarco Murray was the best back in the league this year, but he is no Beast Mode. Lynch rushed for 110 yards and two scores against the Packers in week one of this season. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch should run the ball plenty against this defense. Against the Cowboys, Green Bay’s offensive line created some nice holes for RB Eddie Lacy to run through. Lacy had 101 yards against the Cowboys, but the Cowboys are nowhere near as good as the ‘Hawks at defending the run. The ‘Hawks held Lacy to 34 yards in their first matchup this season.
The big question regarding this game is: what will happen through the air? Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to win the M.V.P. this season, but will Seattle allow him to demonstrate that M.V.P. form? The Seattle secondary has been lethal for the past few weeks; however this will probably be the biggest challenge that they have faced since their loss to the Chiefs in week 11. In their first matchup, Rodgers was not able to get much going, as he threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, but threw a pick. He avoided Seattle CB Richard Sherman’s side for most of the game. It will be interesting to see what his strategy is this time around, especially with a strained calf. His ability to run will be limited, taking away a key component of his game. Green Bay’s secondary is not to be underestimated. They have been doing a great job this season, and were able to contain Dallas WR Dez Bryant for most of the game. Russell Wilson had an excellent passing game against the Panthers, but expect more push back from the Packers.
It will be a tough matchup for both teams, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out and what strategies each team uses.
Featured Image: Seahawks.com / Rod Mar