Green Bay Packers: 5 Predictions for the Pack's Week 3 Matchup vs. Seahawks
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There is one prediction that is unquestionable when Green Bay travels to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 on Monday Night Football:
It won't be a gimme.
The Packers (1-1) and Seahawks (1-1) enter their matchup with the same record, both coming off of relatively easy wins over the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.
To predict winners, margin of victory, statistics, better halftime speeches and number of field goals would be asinine. These are two good squads, facing off early in the season.
Do you take me for a soothsayer?
Here are some predictions you can't bet on—at least, not with a BoDog account—but that you can certainly count on.
Rodgers Will Have a Breakout Game
Aaron Rodgers is due for a breakout game, especially since he and the Packers haven't had one since their 19-game winning streak was snapped last December.
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Aaron Rodgers is not a breakout player by any stretch of the imagination. However, he has yet to register a dominating performance this season.
In fact, the Packer pass offense has struggled recently, according to ESPN.com.
Rodgers, prior to his game in Week 2, had the worst completion percentage and quarterback rating of any quarterback in the NFL on throws of 15 yards or longer in their last five games.
For the record, Rodgers’ performance against the Bears (22-33, 219 yards, one touchdown, one interception) was by no means a dominating performance.
That will change on Sunday because Rodgers is due for a great game and there is no better time than primetime to do so. And when it does, you can imagine that Blake Baratz will have something to do with it.
Rodgers’ big game on Monday won’t be completely predicated on the fact that tight end Jermichael Finley’s boneheaded agent said, “ARod is a great QB, he isn’t a great leader.”
But you can be sure it will give him more reason to be as sharp and focused as ever against Seattle.
Jermichael Finley Will Drop Passes
Jermichael Finley has a history of dropped passes and the trend will certainly continue in Monday's game.
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Is this really out of the question?
Finley has three dropped passes in two games this season. That doesn’t sound like many to the casual fan, but when they are opportunities for first downs or yardage-grabbing plays on, say, a 2nd-and-10, those drops tend to kill a drive and potential momentum going forward in a game.
According to profootballfocus.com, Finley has had the fourth-worst drop rate since 2009, failing to catch 16 passes out of 147 catchable balls (10.9 percent). The top-rated tight end, Jeremy Shockey, dropped six balls out of 132 (4.5 percent).
I would actually be surprised if Rodgers targets him at all. Throwing to Finley is like throwing to Kendrick Perkins. Or a gargoyle for that matter.
It doesn’t help when your agent acts like he’s Giselle Bundchen after Super Bowl XLVI.
How long does this agent last before Finley fires him under pressure from team officials, his coaches, his teammates, his trainer, his family, his dentist and his chiropractor?
I give it one month. It will likely be the worst month of his career.
Packer Running Game Will Be Stymied
Cedric Benson is the Packers starting running back, with James Stark likely to sit out. That doesn't mean he has to play well.
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James Stark is listed as questionable and Cedric Benson can barely be considered a rushing threat.
The Seattle Seahawks have allowed 46 yards rushing per game through the first two weeks of the season.
They did not hold a lead against Arizona after the first quarter and held the Cards’ two-headed rushing attack to 43 yards on 20 carries.
After rushing for 143 yards, calling 47 precent of their plays on the ground in New York in Week 1, Seattle halted DeMarco Murray and the Dallas Cowboys' ground attack to 49 yards on 16 carries in Week 2.
In the first two weeks of the season, teams have decided not to rush against the Seahawks. More than each team’s offensive philosophy, Arizona and Dallas simply felt more comfortable advancing the ball against Seattle through the air.
If those numbers are any indication, the Packers will choose to go the same route with its offensive play calling.
After all, in a close match-up against a great defense in the Niners, Green Bay rushed nine times and did not have a running back on the field for more than half of its plays, according to ESPN.com.
Russell Wilson Will Take More Chances
Is he running or throwing? We will see what Russell Wilson does come Monday.
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The Pack allowed 13 passing first downs in their season opener against the San Fransisco 49ers. Alex Smith finished that game with a 125.6 passer rating, completing 20-of-26 pass attempts.
Last season, Green Bay was ranked 32nd in the NFL in passing defense, giving up nearly 300 yards per game.
Sure, things turned around for the pass ‘D’ in Week 2 against Chicago, but it was more likely due to Cutler having a sub par performance—to put it modestly—as opposed to a suddenly resurgent Packer defense.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t had many opportunities to test his arm. Why should he have? He’s a rookie quarterback with the NFL’s third-leading rusher to hand off to.
Head coach Pete Carroll and the offensive coaching staff in Seattle have done a nice job easing Wilson into the season thus far. But they will probably want to let the former Badger roam free more on Monday night, both in the pocket with his arm and using his mobility outside of the pocket.
Greg Jennings Will Start
Greg Jennins is a game changer on offense. Even when he isn't catching balls, he is attracting attention from opposing defenses.
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Jennings sat out of last Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bears nursing a groin injury, but all indications are that he will participate in Monday’s Week 3 match-up.
Jennings practiced on Tuesday, as expected, according to the Pierce County Herald. What is more encouraging is that he was in full pads.
Coach Mike McCarthy has yet to indicate whether or not Jennings is expected to start, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Any coach would rather stay mum about the injury status of their star player to prevent teams from being prepared. At least, the good coaches would.
The return of Jennings will be welcoming to Rodgers, who was hampered by dropped passes in his Week 2 performance.
The impact of Jennings is evident in last season’s performance (13 games, 67 catches, 949 yards, nine touchdowns) in limited play.
There have been questions as to whether or not Jennings or Jordy Nelson is the No. 1 option for Rodgers. It doesn’t matter. Jennings’ impact will lead to better play by Rodgers.