Part II: Green Bay, Seattle Play Sunday to Go to Super Bowl
In Week 1, Green Bay lost to Seattle, 36-16, at CenturyLink Field.
On Sunday, the Packers will visit the Seahawks again in the NFC Championship for the right to go the Super Bowl. There have been six times that teams have won in Week 1 and have met again in the conference championship. All six times, the team that won earlier in the season has moved on to the Super Bowl.
Both teams are different now though. Green Bay's rookies aren't playing like rookie anymore, i.e., Corey Linsley, Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Plus, Julius Peppers has made his mark with the Packers. For Seattle, the Seahawks don't have Percy Harvin anymore and Brandon Mebane is on injured reserve.
But Seattle is also a stronger team. Russell Wilson is consistent, Marshawn Lynch is running well and the defense led by Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor is still dominant.
Injuries have played a part of these two teams the last few weeks, too. Aaron Rodgers played through a pulled calf against Dallas last week and will play Sunday against the Seahawks along with Eddie Lacy. For Seattle, the Seahawks lost Paul Richardson to a season-ending ACL injury. Seattle still has plenty of weapons with Lynch, Doug Baldwin, and Luke Willson.
Green Bay is trying to get back to the Super Bowl since winning the Vince Lombardi trophy in 2010. Seattle is looking to be the first team in back-to-back seasons to reach the Super Bowl.
Both Rodgers and Wilson have been really good in the playoffs in their careers. Rodgers owns a career 105.3 passer rating, while Wilson has a postseason best 109.6 passer rating. (Rodgers' playoff passer rating is second to Wilson's).
For Rodgers, it will be up to calf and how it feels comes game day Sunday. The Packers' offensive line allowed two sacks last week and did well protecting Rodgers in the pocket. Rodgers did also throw two of his three touchdowns out of the pocket last week. So he does still have mobility.
The Packers will have to get Lacy going to ease pressure off Rodgers' calf, too. Lacy has been limited in practice this week. Last week, Lacy ran 19 times for 101 yards. In his last six games, Lacy has ran for at least 70 yards with a touchdown in four of them.
It will interesting to see how Rodgers attacks the Seahawks secondary. In Week 1, Rodgers didn't target Sherman's side of the field once. No doubt, Rodgers will probably look Sherman's way Sunday. Sherman shadowed Jarrett Boykin in Week 1, but Boykin's role has diminished with Adams increased role. Adams caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown against Dallas last week. Seattle will also to watch how Green Bay uses Randall Cobb. Cobb lined up as a receiver and running back last week. Cobb caught eight passes for 116 yards against the Cowboys. Then there's Jordy Nelson. Nelson only caught two passes last week, but teams are keying on him. Andrew Quarless caught four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown, and Richard Rodgers caught a touchdown as well at tight end for Green Bay last week.
Last week Seattle allowed Carolina to gain 362 yards of total offense. Green Bay racked up 416 yards of total offense against Dallas. Sunday's NFC Championship is a match-up of the NFL's top offense (Green Bay) against the NFL's top defense (Seattle).
Green Bay will also have to limit Lynch on the ground. The Packers allowed DeMarco Murray to rush the ball 25 times for 123 yards and a touchdown last week. Seattle's offense is rushing for 173 yards on the ground between Wilson, Lynch and Robert Turbin.
Now whose 12th man can step for their teams? Will it be the fans in Seattle or the Packers No. 12 under center?
Seattle is 7-1 at home, while Green Bay is 4-4 on the road this season. The game can be watched at 2:05 p.m. on Fox or listen to the game right here on ESPN. 99.1.
Packers: Josh Boyd, Rodgers, Lacy and Josh Sitton have all been in practice yesterday for Green Bay.
Seahawks: Michael Bennett, Justin Britt, Jeron Johnson, Lynch, Tony McDaniel, Tony Moeaki and Max Unger were all full practice participants for Seattle yesterday.
Sam Tastad will have pre-and-post game report for the Packers all season long. Follow him on Twitter @samtastad and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.