The Packers tout one of the world's premier quarterbacks, a surprisingly efficient running game and perhaps the best pass rush in the NFL. So why don't they have a better record?
The Seahawks and the Packers both need to win on Thursday night to protect any dwindling possibility of a late-season sprint to the playoffs.
The winner will take a much-needed surge of momentum into a mini-bye.
The loser will have a lot of questions to answer.
Here are five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent, the 4-4-1 Packers.
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1. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception since September.
More specifically, the seasoned 34-year-old quarterback hasn’t surrendered a pick since a win over the Bills on Sept. 30. In his last five games, Rodgers has thrown for 1,611 yards (322.2 per game) with 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions. On the season, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound signal caller has completed 61.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,741 yards and 17 touchdowns with just one lonely interception.
That presents an interesting challenge for a Seahawks defense that ranks seventh in the NFL with 10 interceptions but hasn’t forced a turnover in its last two games. The Packers have also lost nine fumbles in nine games this season, which ranks 31st in the NFL.
2. The Packers have finally decided to unleash Aaron Jones.
In their 31-12 win over Miami last weekend, Jones — a second-year running back from UTEP — rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 9.7 yards per carry. Jones has notched a season-high in carries in each of his last three games (12, 14, 15). There’s a reason for that, too; the 5-9, 208-pound Jones is averaging a whopping 6.8 yards per carry on 73 attempts this season.
It would surprise some to hear that, in an offense led by one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks in Rodgers, the Packers are actually tied for the league-lead with a 5.2 yards-per-carry average this season. That’s bad news for the Seahawks, who have surrendered 309 rushing yards and 6.9 yards per carry in their last two games (both losses).
The Seahawks have allowed 5.0 yards per carry this season, which ranks tied for 28th in the NFL. Rodgers isn’t the only Aaron capable of doing damage on Thursday night.
3. The Packers are tied for the NFL lead with 31 sacks this season.
But their main contributors in that area might not be who you expect.
Two Green Bay defenders — defensive tackle Kenny Clark and linebacker Kyler Fackrell — are tied for the team-lead with five sacks apiece. That represents a significant improvement for both players, as Clark managed 4.5 sacks in the first 31 games of his career and Fackrell finished with five sacks in his first two NFL seasons. Third-year linebacker Blake Martinez also leads Green Bay in tackles and has contributed four sacks after managing just two over the last two seasons.
On the whole, 15 Packers have contributed at least half a sack this season.
Oh, and don’t forget that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been sacked eight times in his last four games.
That means, perhaps more than ever, that Seattle will be looking to establish the run on Thursday.
4. Green Bay is 0-4 on the road this season.
It’s been a tale of two teams for the Packers, who are also 4-0-1 at Lambeau Field. They’ve lost six consecutive road games dating back to last season. And while they’ve claimed three consecutive home wins against Seattle, Green Bay hasn’t won a game at CenturyLink Field since 2008.
So, with all the considered, shouldn’t the Seahawks have a clear advantage on Thursday night? They certainly should, but consider also that the Seahawks are 1-4 in their last five home games. They’ll need to reverse that trend in a hurry, with five of their last seven games coming at home.
5. Jimmy Graham is second on the team in receiving yards, but he managed just one catch last week.
Remember him? Graham — who spent the last three seasons with the Seahawks before signing with Green Bay this offseason — has registered 33 catches, 439 receiving yards and two touchdowns in nine games this season. The 31-year-old tight end’s Seahawks revenge game may be in jeopardy, though. Graham caught just one pass for 14 yards last week while dealing with a nagging knee injury.
Meanwhile, a quartet of Seahawks tight ends — Nick Vannett, Will Dissly, Ed Dickson and Tyrone Swoopes — have combined for 32 catches, 443 receiving yards and five scores this season. Those are remarkably similar numbers.