Seahawks vs. Packers: Keys to the game
The matchup in the middle
Green Bay is without both its starting center (JC Tretter) and nose tackle (B.J. Raji). So Seattle could have a significant edge in the battles up the middle. Replacing Tretter is rookie Corey Linsley, who will have a tough task against Seattle veteran nose tackle Brandon Mebane. The prospect of that matchup had Seattle’s Bruce Irvin saying this week: “I’m going to pray for him. It’s going to be a long night, man. We’ve just got to take advantage of it, all the weaknesses that he shows us, we’ve got to expose it and hopefully ’Bane is going to do what I know he is going to do to him.” As for Raji, he will be replaced by Letroy Guion, who joined the Packers after six seasons with the Vikings.
Green Bay’s offense took on a different look last season once rookie Eddie Lacy became the primary running back. The 230-pounder is punishing and elusive, rushing for a franchise rookie record 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. “He’s not just an in-between-the-tackles guy,” said Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “You can see him bounce out and create that way.” Sure tackling will be of the essence for the Seahawks, as will staying in their gaps, something that was an issue in the final exhibition game against the Raiders.
Challenging debut for Britt
Rookie Justin Britt won Seattle’s right offensive tackle job in part due to an uncommon maturity that allowed him to quickly pick up the offense and make adjustments on the fly. But the Seahawks will find out against the Packers just how ready Britt is for the NFL. He will be challenged early and often by two of the best pass rushers in the game — Green Bay outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. “He’ll get tested in a big way,” coach Pete Carroll said. What kind of grade he gets will go a long way toward determining Seattle’s success in the passing game.