Week 3 is here and it’s time to look at some of the key matchups in the Monday Night game featuring the Green Bay Packers at the Seattle Seahawks. On paper, this has the makings of an evenly-matched contest that will likely come down to who wins the turnover battle.
The Packers are the better overall team but CenturyLink Field and their raucous crowd, aka the 12th man in Seattle, has turned many super powers into chumps. Let’s take a look at what I see as the keys to who comes out of this one with the “W”.
Russell Wilson vs. the Packer front 7
Rookie QB Russell Wilson won the starting job in training camp over newly acquired and former Green Bay Packer Matt Flynn. Many were surprised as it seemed Flynn was the clear-cut choice to start after deciding to leave Green Bay where he had become a solid backup QB and had that monster game in week 17 of last season.
Flynn signed a hefty free agent contract with Seattle and was on his way but he finds himself, once again, on the sideline carrying the clipboard. Wilson played very well during the preseason. He was 35-of-52 (67.3%) for 464 yds, 5 TDs and just 1 INT. Wilson also had 10 rushes for 150 yds and a TD. That was enough to put him under center when the Seahawks opened the 2012 season.
Wilson has, at times, played beyond the typical rookie tendencies. In watching the game vs. the Dallas Cowboys last week, Wilson was fundamentally sound and well-composed against a pretty good Cowboy pass rush. He plays within the system and we can’t forget all of the success Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll had at USC with his quarterbacks. Wilson is not even a full year removed from his playing days at the University of Wisconsin and is still on the low end of his NFL learning curve.
Carroll has helped assemble a team and created an offensive system that doesn’t put it all on Wilson’s back. Very composed and with a good pocket presence, Wilson is proving to be a key to the defensive game plan. He plays it safe for the most part, and takes what the defense gives him. Many of his completions last week were shorter routes with a few shots downfield. Those high percentage throws can prove detrimental to the defense. If Wilson is able to sustain long drives and tire the Packer defense, it will shift favor toward the Seattle side.