Come on, seriously? Before any roster cuts have taken place, the Seahawks are in playoff mode? Not exactly, but this game at Lambeau Field has grudge match elements lingering from the Fail Mary story.
The Never-Ending Drama
For good reason, most Seahawks fans are past the Fail Mary and (again for good reason) may object to my bringing it up here. Unfortunately, many Packers fans and a particular NFLN interviewer still believe that Pete Carroll did not take responsibility to acknowledge that it was the wrong call when given the chance to speak, and Packers fans continue to question Carroll’s integrity along with Golden Tate’s.
Ten Reasons for a Playoff Look to This Game
With this back story in mind, here are 10 reasons why the Hawks’ Week 3 Exhibition Game may look more like a playoff game:
1. Seahawks fans have a vested interest in seeing how well Seattle’s first units perform in a hostile road environment against a championship caliber team. Denver fans would say, "what’s good for the goose is good for the gander" as they well know, both at home and on the road, how significant a passionate crowd can be. Since the Seahawks are considered to be a possible Super Bowl contender, they’ve been handed an ideal national venue via CBS Sports—to showcase in their ambitions in the spotlight, with everything to gain and nothing to lose.
2. Packers fans want to see Aaron Rodgers dissect the Legion of Boom in Super Bowl form, not the lamenting, snake-bitten, demoralized Aaron Rodgers, following the Fail Mary game, whose 2012 slow start was largely blamed on the outcome of that fateful Monday Night. They want to see--quite possibly the "most accurate passer in football" heroically advance the Pack past the Hawks.
3. Many Seahawks fans agree with most Packers fans that M.D. Jennings did, in fact, intercept the ball away from Golden Tate. Seahawks fans who may be a tad bit ashamed or embarrassed about the win (or at least acknowledge an asterisk by that final score), would like to see the Seahawks compete with excellence against the Packers, without the help of any NFL officials. If there is such a thing as winning a preseason game, then Hawk fans want to see Seattle win it fair and square. I suspect the first half will give us a pretty good idea.
4. Packers fans want to see their defense diffuse and befuddle the Seahawks receivers---especially Golden Tate, who many believe ruined their season last year.
5. Golden Tate wants to make even more remarkable receptions with body control and creative football moves that continue to legitimate his respected presence on any visitor’s field.
6. Packers Nation is watching, and equally as important, anti-Packer nation is watching. You see, there are three other teams in the NFC North, and for them, center stage adulation and applause for the media- elevated (cough ESPN cough) Packers gets very, very tiresome in the middle and Great Lakes region of the US of A.
7. The Packers (sorry Cowboys) are now America’s darling team and by the media twist of (let’s call it "Packers-nation bias"), the Seahawks may be portrayed as cheaters, loud mouths and bullies. I’m not so quick to dismiss the renegade image (sorry Raiders). As it turns out, respect is earned. John Schneider, if asked by any Packers fan, would describe his team as a quality line up of outstanding young men, albeit with differing approaches to public relations, but who have a unified resolve to win with dignity and honor. The opportunity to live out the vision, Leave No Doubt 24/7 becomes magnified in Green Bay.
8. Russell Wilson gets an intense refinement clinic on the road against an aggressive defense, attacking him with playoff- level ferocity. There was a significant difference between Wilson’s rookie preseason outings and his rookie baptism by fire against the pre-injury Arizona Cardinals defense and Jeff Fisher’s St. Louis Rams defense on the road in weeks 1 and 4 last year. A preseason look at a quality defense with a chip on its’ shoulder could turn out to be NFL iron sharpening Seahawks offensive iron with Russell Wilson taking the entire experience to his improvement workshop and development bank.
9. Coach Carroll wants the first, second and third units to bring it all so that the Seattle Seahawks will leave an impression of their own on the Packers' turf. Young reserve players who have the chance of a lifetime to play big league ball in a big league stadium (Lambeau Field is sort of Fenway Park in baseball terms) can prove that they belong and can continue to earn their spot on this team and/or in the NFL. For most of these players, these are the playoffs.
10. The intensity of this game reminds us that both teams have a little something to prove. The Packers believe that they have earned the right to remain one of the top teams in the NFC, but have yet to acknowledge that the Seattle Seahawks, power rankings aside, actually belong in their circle, along with the 49ers or the Atlanta Falcons. Depending upon how you look at that, the Packers legitimately won all 11 of their games last year and could easily have been 12 and 4. Still, they won the NFC North Division title.
Friday night, as the sun begins to set on the preseason at Lambeau Field, and as the lights turn on roster candidates fighting hard to make it in the NFL, all Seattle really has to do is win on their own terms—all we got, all we need style—taking control for sake of 2013 preparedness and a little pride.
At times in this exhibition, things could get intense enough that it just might look like a playoff game. In reality, Win or lose – it really is how well you play the game here.