Monday, September 24, 2012
Packers' aim: rattle Seattle with pressure
By ESPN Stats & Information
Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/MCTFollowing 10 days of talk about the quality of his leadership, quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns to the field tonight as the Green Bay Packers take on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football (8:30 ET on ESPN).
Packers LB Clay Matthews will look to put heat on the Seahawks after racking up 3.5 sacks last week.
The Packers have won six of their last seven games against the Seahawks, including meetings in the 2003 and 2007 playoffs. In those seven contests, Green Bay has outscored Seattle by 94 points, a 13.4-point differential per game.
When Green Bay has the ball
Following his 2011 MVP season, Rodgers is off to a slow start this year. Rodgers led the league with an 86.2 Total QBR last year, but he has just a 44.6 QBR in 2012. Of particular concern, Rodgers has a 20.2 QBR this season when the game has been within eight points, with no touchdowns and seven sacks.
Rodgers, who tossed only six interceptions all of last season, has thrown a pick in each of his first two games, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers and a win against the Chicago Bears. He also already has been sacked eight times this season after being sacked 36 times all of last season.
The Packers could take the raucous Seattle crowd out of game by running the ball, but they have struggled on the ground this season. Despite signing Cedric Benson to bolster the rushing attack, Green Bay has only 151 yards and no touchdowns on the ground this season.
When Seattle has the ball
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will get his first taste of the NFL primetime spotlight tonight. Through two games, his success has been determined by how much pressure he has been under. While Wilson has shined when facing four or fewer pass rushers, he has experienced issues when teams have brought five or more rushers. Since the start of 2011, the Packers have rushed five or more 45.4 percent of the time.
Wilson will be facing a Green Bay defense that exploded in Week 2 against the Bears. After totaling just seven sacks and five interceptions in their previous five games (including the postseason), the Packers recorded seven sacks and four interceptions in their win over Chicago.
Expect Seattle to rely heavily on running back Marshawn Lynch, who has played some of his best football late in games at CenturyLink Field. Since the start of 2011, Lynch has 56 carries for 219 yards and four touchdowns in the fourth quarter of home games.
Stat of the game
Over the last 10 seasons, the Seahawks rank second in the league in home-road point differential behind only the Ravens. The Seahawks have outscored opponents at home by 428 points since 2003, while they have been outscored by 359 points on the road in that span, a difference of 787 points.