The Seahawks are back from their bye and headed to Green Bay where they will face the Packers at historic Lambeau Field. At 3-5, the Seahawks are looking to get their season back on track coming out of their bye, with Russell Wilson back from injury to lead the way. The Packers (7-2) are coming off of just their second loss of the season, having played without reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers last week, but he is expected to come off of the COVID-19 list Saturday, making him eligible to play on Sunday.
The Seahawks haven't won in Green Bay since 1999, though as linebacker Bobby Wagner noted this week when asked about that streak, "I think this is a great time to change it. I think that would be cool."
If the Seahawks are going to end a Lambeau losing streak of nine games, postseason included, these are three key matchups that could make the difference in Sunday afternoon's game:
1. Russell Wilson & the offense vs. a tough Packers defense, and some tough history at Lambeau Field.
Wilson and the Seahawks have done well against the Packers at home dating back to the 2012 season that saw Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner arrive in Seattle, going 4-0, including a memorable NFC Championship game win, but they are 0-4 at Lambeau in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, including one postseason loss.
And while those losses fall on everyone, players and coaches included, no one player can affect the outcome of a game like a quarterback, so if Wilson can shine in his first game back from finger surgery, that could go a long ways towards ending Seattle's nine-game losing streak in Green Bay.
Like the rest of the offense, Wilson has had a tough go of things at Lambeau in the past, completing 55 of 96 passes in three regular-season losses for 604 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions, giving him a 60.4 passer rating that is more than 40 points shy of his career passer rating (102.3).
On a more positive note, Wilson's best outing at Lambeau was his last one, a playoff loss two seasons ago in which he went 21 for 31, for 277 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions and a 106.5 rating, plus he added 64 yards on seven carries.
Getting the offense going will be no easy task, not just because of a hostile crowd and cold weather; the Packers are also just a really good defensive team, ranking fifth in total defense and sixth in scoring defense, and they've been even better of late, holding three of their last four opponents to 14 or fewer points. But if Wilson and the offense can find a way to solve a stingy defense while also exorcizing some Lambeau demons, the Seahawks just might be able to end the trend of home teams dominating in this series.
"It looks like visiting teams haven't done well in this matchup in general, over a long time," Carroll said. "The home team has had the advantage and somewhere that will change. It would be nice this weekend."
2. Packers receiver Davante Adams vs. Seattle's improved cornerback play.
As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has pointed out on a few occasions, a big part of Seattle's defensive turnaround in recent weeks has been the improved play of their cornerbacks, particularly since D.J. Reed moved from the left side to the right, and since rookie Tre Brown returned from injured reserve and took over at left cornerback. That duo and Seattle's defense has not, however, faced a test in recent weeks quite as daunting as the duo of Aaron Rodgers—assuming he indeed is cleared to return from the COVID-19 list—and receiver Davante Adams.
A four-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro last season, Adams has established himself as one of the NFL's best receivers in recent years. Last season Adams had 115 catches for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns, his second time in the last three years with more than 1,300 yards, 100 catches and double-digit touchdowns, and this year he's off to another great start with 58 catches for 786 yards and three touchdowns, ranking third in the league in catches and fourth in receiving yards.
"He has everything you are looking for," Carroll said. "He has stature, he's a very competitive catcher, there's no ball that he doesn't think he can't catch, he has great catching range, route runner, he's really good after the catch, he's excellent at making guys miss and bouncing off of tackles, and he does not go down easily because he's such a great competitor. The worst part for us is that the quarterback knows he's out there, so they keep giving the ball to him. He's probably averaged 15 or 16 targets a game for the last three or four games he's played in. They are just going to go to him and use him. They do a great job of that."
And unfortunately for the Seahawks, plenty of that success has come against the Seahawks. In his past four games against Seattle, postseason included, Adams has three 100-yard games, including 160 yards and two scores in the most recent meeting, Seattle's playoff loss at Lambeau two years ago, and 10 catches for 166 yards in the previous meeting, a Packers home win in 2018.
Neither of Seattle's starting cornerbacks played in any of those previous meetings, and that duo has been very good of late, but Brown and Reed, as well as the rest of Seattle's secondary, is facing a tough test every time the ball comes Adams' way on Sunday.
3. The turnover battle.
Packers are plus-6 in turnover differential, tied for 4th in the NFL, while the Seahawks aren't far behind at plus-4, which is tied for 8th, but they've gotten there in different ways.
The Seahawks are on the positive side of that all-important stat in large part because of how well they've taken care of the ball, committing a league-low four turnovers, while the Packers have built up that positive differential by taking the ball away at a high rate, with 14 takeaways, tied for fifth most in the NFL.
The Seahawks so far haven't been able to turn their success in the turnover battle into as many wins as they normally would, but they are plus-3 in their three wins and only plus-1 in their five losses. Green Bay, meanwhile, has all 14 of their takeaways in their seven wins, and none in their two losses, so if the Seahawks can pull off another turnover-free game, that would be huge for their odds of getting a win.
Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Packers as the two teams get ready to face off during Week 10 at Lambeau Field.