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Seahawks vs. Packers: 3 things to watch for in Seattle's Sunday Night matchup

The best part about playing the Packers? Watching NFC Championship Game highlights.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Graham

Early on in week one against the Rams, Russell Wilson and the offense struggled to get the ball to Graham. The offense as a whole struggled – as the offensive line of the Seahawks just got decimated by the Rams defensive line, which didn't allow much time for receivers to run their routes, and for plays to develop.

Despite the Rams' defensive physicality, in the second half, Russell got the ball efficiently to Graham. Jimmy G finished with six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad contribution for your first game. This is what Seahawks' OC Darrell Bevell had to say following the game against the Rams:

"Again, it's going to be an emphasis for us. We're going to continue to try to get him the ball. Sometimes you just have to throw him the ball. Glad that we were able to get him a touchdown. A good throw and a good catch right there. So we'll continue to find ways to get it to him."

From the mouth of the offensive coordinator himself, the Seahawks look like they’re going to continue to find ways to get Graham involved in their offense as a focal point. Per Sheil Kapadia (ESPN’s new beat writer for the Seahawks – if you don’t follow him already, you need to), Jimmy G has averaged 63.7 yards per game and scored twice in three career games against the Packers.

Look for Russ to get the ball out to Jimmy G quick and early. He could be a deciding factor in this game.

Cliff Avril

Everyone was talking about Dion Bailey, the linebackers, and the offense this week following the loss to the Rams, so it was definitely overlooked that Avril balled out in that game. He had a very solid outing against the Rams offensive line last week, and news just came out that Packers RT Bryan Bulaga will be out with a knee injury after injuring it in practice on Thursday. He appears to have sprained his MCL.

From the Packers fans I’ve spoken to – it doesn’t seem like they’re too confident in Bulaga’s replacement, Don Barclay. If Cliff can push the pocket and disrupt Rodgers quickly and early – the Seahawks defense could be looking much forceful than week one. Look for Cliff to be another deciding factor in this game.

The Run Game

This is the reality – the Packers’ run defense isn’t their strongest asset on defense. In week one, the Packers gave up 189 rushing yards to the Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears. Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and Russell Wilson will need to have a big game on the ground in order to keep the Packers’ defense honest in the passing game.

If the Seahawks can find some success running the ball against the Packers, they’ll be able to control the tempo of the game and limit the opportunities given to Aaron Rodgers.

I’m sure Beastmode will be eating his skittles come Sunday night.