Week 10 of the NFL season is here, and for the Seattle Seahawks that means a trip to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. That, of course, means that Field Gulls teamed up with Acme Packing Company to preview the game, with Jon Meerdink taking the time to answer five questions fired his way.
The line on the game has moved in favor of Seattle in recent days, but as of publication the Packers remain a field goal favorite at the DraftKings Sportsbook. That’s a bump for the Hawks, who opened as 5.5 point underdogs, and an improvement from being four point underdogs prior to Russell Wilson returning from injured reserve. this week. That said, even with the weather not expected to be great, and predictions for temperatures in the 30s for the game wind speeds in the teens, the over/under has held steady at 49.5 through the week.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
In any case, without wasting any further time, here are the actual questions and answers.
1) Obviously the big question for both teams is whether both the future Hall of Fame quarterbacks get moved to the active roster in time to play Sunday. How concerned, if at all, are Packers fans regarding the ability of Rodgers to jump right in and play after missing a week and a half?
I don’t think there’s a lot of concern. The ongoing message of 2021 is that Aaron Rodgers is going to be Aaron Rodgers, both on and off the field. Assuming he clears whatever protocols he needs to clear during his multi-day ramp-up period, I expect he’ll be on the field on Sunday. Matt LaFleur made it quite clear (albeit not in as many words) that he prefers Rodgers to Love.
2) Staying on the subject of Rodgers, with the salary cap situation looking the way it is, how are fans feeling about Jordan Love and the future of the franchise after the way things went in Week 9?
Based on Week 9, I wouldn’t say anybody would feel too great about 2022 if Love is, in fact, the anointed one. One game hardly tells the story and the Chiefs certainly had his number, but we haven’t seen much from Love that would indicate he’s the answer going forward. If the Packers had to choose now, they’d be foolish to pick Love.
3) Who is a player on each side of the ball that Seahawks fans may not be familiar with, but who could play a significant role in the outcome Sunday?
I’ll give you two on offense since one is pretty hard to watch from the couch. The hard-to-spot one is Elgton Jenkins, the Packers’ near-superhuman offensive lineman. He made the Pro Bowl last year as a guard, but so far this season he’s been filling in for David Bakhtiari at left tackle. If there’s a job that needs doing on the offensive line, he can do it. He even semi-seriously talked about filling in at quarterback this Sunday, and given the available evidence so far, I wouldn’t bet against him being able to pull it off.
But since it’s hard to fully appreciate offensive line play watching on TV, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for Allen Lazard. He’s a wide receiver by trade, but he’s roughly the size of a sport-model tight end, and with Robert Tonyan out for the season with a torn ACL, the Packers have increasingly used him like one. He’s deceptively fast, a ferocious blocker, and can reliably overpower smaller defensive backs for the football.
On defense, watch for De’Vondre Campbell. He was the very definition of a journeyman linebacker for the first five years of his career, but things have clicked for him in year six. He’s making plays against the run and the pass and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month in October. He’s hardly a household name, but he’s been a stabilizing force in the middle of the Packers defense.
4) The Packers are sitting pretty atop the NFC North, with several winnable games remaining on the schedule. With that in mind, what are the weak spots on the roster that could lead to possible stumbles in games they should win, like the matchup against the Seahawks on Sunday?
Defensive line is a big question mark heading into this game. Kenny Clark left last Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs early with a back injury, and even though the Packers say he’s well on his way to health, they really can’t afford to have him be anything other than 100%. Outside of Clark, there’s nobody really worth writing home about on the defensive line, so I’d look for Seattle to push hard on that weak spot if Clark is limited at all.
5) What’s your prediction for the game?
My prediction depends on two ifs: if Aaron Rodgers can play and if the Packers can protect him. If Rodgers is a go and if the interior line holds up, I don’t see any reason why the Packers can’t throw their way to a win. I expect Rodgers to play, so if he stays upright, I’d expect a relatively comfortable Packers win. I’ll say Packers 27, Seahawks 20.