Green Bay Packers

Packers vs. Seahawks: A Matchup to Exploit Tonight

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 1:  Jason Babin #93 of the Philadelphia Eagles is blocked by Breno Giacomini #68 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field December 1, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won 31-24. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
Jay Drowns/Getty Images
Bob FoxContributor ISeptember 24, 2012

The third-ranked defense of the Green Bay Packers has a number of priorities Monday night as they face the Seattle Seahawks.

One is to stop the run effectively, which means stopping the hard-charging Marshawn Lynch before he really gets started. Easy to say...but tough to do.

The Packers are ranked 27th in the NFL in rush defense, as the Pack has given up an average of 140 yards a game in the first two games versus the San Fransisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears.

That won't cut it against Lynch, who has 207 rushing yards and one TD in 2012 and also has a 4.4 yards per carry average.

The Packers definitely have to bring their run defense abilities up a notch or two tonight.

The Packers also want to create turnovers. The Packers led the NFL with 31 picks in 2011, plus had four interceptions last week again Jay Cutler. The Packers are also facing a rookie QB tonight in Russell Wilson.

But Wilson is no ordinary rookie. He's calm, cool and collected. Wilson can make big plays because of his ability to escape pass pressure and to hit open receivers downfield.

That's why it's essential to have a fierce pass rush against Wilson to upset his timing and to force mistakes.

 

The big elephant in the room for the Packers to exploit in this scenario is a very big man...Breno Giacomini, a former Packer.

Giacomini plays RT and is a very tough hombre at 6'7" and 318 pounds. The Packers drafted Giacomini in 2008 in the fifth round out of Louisville. The coaching staff liked his toughness and the way his went after it in the run game.

They weren't so thrilled with his pass blocking, especially against edge rushers. Former Packer QB Matt Flynn, who ironically plays with the Seahawks now too, almost had his head ripped off a couple of times when Giacomini tried to pass protect in preseason games then.

Giacomini made the roster in 2008 and 2009, but in 2010 the Packers waived him and put him on the practice squad in 2010, where the Seahawks then signed him to their active roster, where he has since become a starter at RT.

As I mentioned earlier, Giacomini Achilles' heel is his pass protection, particularly vs, edge rushers. That is why the Packers should send a steady course of LOLB Nick Perry via the pass rush, while ROLB Clay Matthews is attacking the left side of the offensive line of the Hawks.

The Packers are tied for third the NFL in sacks with 11 thus far in 2012 (after only two games), led by Matthews, who has six sacks all by himself.

The Packers have also used an effective rotation at LOLB, by utilizing Erik Walden and Dezman Moses there as well, along with Perry.

 

The Packers have been moving Matthews around in their defensive formations this year and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Matthews plays over Giacomini tonight on certain plays.

Time will tell how the defense of the Packers will do tonight, but you can be sure that the Packers will try and exploit their matchups against Giacomini.

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