The 13-win Green Bay Packers will start their run to the Super Bowl Saturday as they take on the West Champion Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. This is a rematch of the playoffs from a few years back when the Pack advanced to the Divisional round with a memorable overtime win. This time its for the right to play in the NFC Champioship game, leaving even more on the line. Here are five keys for the Pack to top the Hawks at home.
1. Get the Run Game Going Early – Ryan Grant has had an outstanding second half of the season, and the team cannot get away from him even if the Hawks have success shutting him down in the first series or two. By running Grant on the edges, he can gain solid yards which then will open up the passing game for Favre and company to look downfield. Run, and when you do, run to the outside, not between the tackles, which was the mistake that Washington made last week.
2. Play Your Game – The Pack has been successful when they can spread the field, run to set up the pass, and make throws down the field. That’s the key this week vs the Seahawks. They can’t get into predict mode, where the Seattle defense can either tee off and attack Favre, or sit back in coverage and wait for him to make a mistake that could cost them the game. An early score would be very important to get the crowd in the game.
3. Stuff the Hawks from Trying to Run – Last year vs the Bears in the playoffs one reason the Seahawks made that a competitive game was due to their ability to run. This year they haven’t been able to run much at all, and the Packers defense can’t allow Seattle to gain some confidence in the run game. By winning at the line of scrimmage, the Pack defense should be able to make the Hawks a team that will have to force the pass.
4. Bring Blitz Pressure vs Hasselbeck – It’s been a season where when the Hawks are playing well, they protect Matt Hasselbeck and make the west coast offense effective. When they struggle, they tend to force things and get out of sync. When the Packers blitz, they will disrupt that west coast offense enough to make Hasselbeck run and hopefully try to force some passes that they can create some turnovers with.
5. Don’t Panic – It’s a 60 minute game, and if things don’t go well early, like they did in week 15 vs the Bears, stay on course with the game plan. Things in the playoffs usually have a way of turning around if you can play within yourself, and one guy that can do that is Favre, who while emotional is going to be responsible for keeping this young team on course. Most of the Pack has not been in this situation, and they have to follow their leader to the NFC Title game.