Seattle travels to Green Bay to take on a Packers squad that’s getting key players back, but MAY need to play without their star, football-smart quarterback.
The Green Bay Packers are hopeful that All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari will be able to play on Sunday as he was a limited participant on Thursday’s practice. Cornerback Jaire Alexander and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith also returned to practice this week. The big question for Green Bay will be whether Aaron Rodgers is cleared to play by Sunday.
Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and after being hit with a $14,650 fine it’s clear that a suspension isn’t happening. The earliest he is eligible to return to the team is Saturday. The Packers lost 13-7 last week against the Chiefs with backup quarterback Jordan Love under center. Love looked unprepared for the moment and the Packers offense looked inept because of Rodgers’ absence. It should be noted that the Packers defense played well against the Chiefs, who although aren’t the big-time offense they’ve been in recent past, still should be feared so long as Patrick Mahomes is their quarterback.
The Seahawks are also looking to get some key starters back after their bye week. The big one is quarterback Russell Wilson, who was sidelined for the past three games with a finger injury. The Geno Smith reign is over. Running back Chris Carson also returned to practice this week, although it’s unclear whether he’ll play this Sunday as Seattle has stated they want him to take his time coming back from a neck injury.
The Seahawks come into this game as clear underdogs for good reason. The defense rank 22nd overall according to Pro Football Focus and the Packers (with Aaron Rodgers) are one of the more efficient offensive attacks in the NFL. Wilson has bailed out the poor defensive play in past seasons, but even before his injury him and the offense weren’t able to overcome the Titans, Vikings, or Rams. The Titans and Vikings losses are particularly troubling considering these are good, but not great teams (sorry Titans/Vikings fans).
Even if Rodgers doesn’t play, this won’t be easy for the Seahawks. The Packers have an underrated running attack duo in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon and if Bakhtiari does play, that will further bolster the Packers offensive line. Love is clearly not starter-material, but logic says another week of practice and playing at home in Green Bay would help him. Still, you’d think even the Seahawks defense would be able to punish a shaky quarterback like Love if the Chiefs defense was able to limit him.
This is a pretty easy game to predict. If Aaron Rodgers plays, the Seahawks are toast (and probably any playoff hopes). If Rodgers doesn’t play, the Seahawks have a chance, especially with Wilson back.
Final prediction: 31-17 Packers (with Aaron Rodgers) 21-10 Seahawks (no Aaron Rodgers)
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