NFC Divisional Playoff Preview 2020: Packers vs. Seahawks

Russell Wilson. Aaron Rodgers. NFL Playoffs. That’s all you need to know in order to tune in Sunday, January 12th at 6:40 pm when the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks will face off in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.

This is the latest bout between the two NFC heavyweights since the 2015 NFC Championship Game that ended in Seattle winning by a final of 28-22 in overtime. That instant classic of a game broke the hearts of every Packer and every cheesehead in the state of Wisconsin.

On the surface, 28-22 doesn’t seem like a score that implies a classic had occurred but if you go beneath the score you’ll find out why this game was so crazy. The Packers had a 16-0 lead at halftime of this game. They led 19-7 with under four minutes to play in regulation. So how could Green Bay possibly lose you ask? Well, one could point several fingers in several different directions. Fair or unfair, the first finger may be pointed at, Brandon Bostick, the tight end who will forever live in infamy as far as Packer fans are concerned. If you’re a Packers fan or a Brandon Bostick fan, you may want to skip this next part.

With 2:09 left to play in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson had just rushed for a touchdown to bring the Seahawks within five points. At this point, Seattle’s only option was to go for an onside kick and it seemed as if everyone was prepared for the kick except for Bostick. Bostick went up to retrieve the ball and caught nothing but air as the ball deflected off of his face and into the hands of a Seahawks player. This turned the tide of the game, bringing the CenturyLink Field crowd to life and giving Seattle the momentum it would carry to victory. Marshawn Lynch ran for a touchdown. Russell Wilson threw a hail mary type of pass for a two-point conversion. Aaron Rodgers expertly drove down the field to set up the field goal to send the game to overtime. Little did he know it would be his last time touching the ball. Seattle got the ball in overtime, and Russell Wilson precisely threw a 35-yard strike to Jermaine Kearse for the game-winning touchdown.

Now that you understand the history of the heartbreak or miracle of that last matchup, depending on who you are a fan of, we can jump into the present and enjoy the anticipation for this incoming matchup.

Five seasons later, these teams have been renovated significantly but four key players remain from that epic battle years ago.

If any heartache from that dreaded collapse currently remains in Green Bay, it is only carried by Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. Aaron Rodgers, who was the NFL’s MVP in 2014, is no longer at his ridiculous statistical prime but is still elite and feared around the league. He threw for 26 touchdowns and only four interceptions and this is considered an average year for him. He led the Packers to a 13-3 record in a supremely competitive NFC but had help.

JACKSONVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 11, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Davante Adams, a dependable rookie in 2014, is now relied on to be the number one wide receiver for this version of Green Bay. Although he missed a month of football with a toe injury, Adams still managed to catch 83 passes for 997 yards along with five touchdowns.  But don’t let those numbers deceive you into downplaying his impact, he is always a threat on the field.

For Seattle, Russell Wilson is no longer a young QB bolstered by a historic defense. It is quite the opposite now. The whole team is lifted and carried by Wilson and they’ve become dependent on the magic he began to flash six years ago. Initially, everything went wrong for Wilson. He threw three first-half interceptions and one interception late in the fourth quarter that could’ve ended the game. He cannot afford to make those same mistakes this time around and is not expected to. He is playing the best football of his career, throwing 31 touchdowns and only five interceptions. If not for Lamar Jackson, Wilson would be the runaway for MVP this year. He is a threat to make a play with arms or with his legs at any time and that is what makes him one of the most dangerous players in the league.

SEATTLE, WA – OCTOBER 18: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws the ball against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on October 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Marshawn Lynch ran for 157 yards and a touchdown against the Packers in the 2015 playoff game. In 2019, Lynch was unemployed until week 15 of the season when the Seahawks top three running backs were injured and ruled out for the rest of the season. Looking for replacements, they called on Lynch to provide the team with his legendary, physical running and an emotional boost to the locker room. If he can turn back the clock, Seattle will be in prime position for the upset in Green Bay

Seattle has a legendary home-field advantage but they will not have their 12th man behind them this Sunday. They will have play against Green Bay’s 12th man: the freezing cold
Green Bay is expecting at least eight inches of snow this weekend prior to the matchup against Seattle. Sunday is expected to be 22 degrees. This is an advantage like no other for the Packers. They cherish these cold, snowy conditions and feed off their opponent’s discomfort in such weather.

If this matchup is anything close to the classic in 2015, we are in store for the best playoff game you will watch this weekend. Enjoy it.

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