NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks: 5 Things to Watch For 

The Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on Friday night in a rematch of 2012′s week three game that ended with the “toucherception” hear round the world. It’s only preseason, so even a Packers win here won’t truly avenge what went down with the replacement refs almost a year ago, but there will definitely be some hype surrounding this exhibition game.

The biggest reason this game holds extra allure is because these are two of the NFC’s better teams, and both can use this third preseason game as a bit of a measuring stick.

A Green Bay offense that has struggled through their first two preseason games will be tested against a Seahawks team that has looked excellent through theirs. In a battle between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson for at least about the first two quarters, let’s see what the top things are that will have us glued to our TV screens:

Eddie Lacy Versus an Elite Run Defense

Lacy looked great in his first preseason game last week, out-muscling linebackers and spinning in and out of jams. He has great power and change-up speed when the first tackler meets him, and he doesn’t go down without a fight. The big thing will be for him to simply stay healthy, but if he can come out and have a positive showing against an elite run D, it could really boost his offensive line’s confidence, and also make a lot of people think twice about doubting Green Bay’s rush offense.

Can Aaron Rodgers Get on Track?

Rodgers looked much more comfortable in the second preseason game, but he still clearly isn’t in a groove completely. It will be nice to see if he can get the Packers back on the right track and get a couple of touchdowns against a top-level defense. Moving the ball simply won’t do here. Rodgers needs to show that Green Bay’s offense is still one not to be messed with. He’s without top receiver Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb could also sit out again, so doing so could be a little tricky.

Green Bay’s Pass Protection

You could probably throw in the Pack’s run-blocking here, too, but the pass protection is the main concern. Seattle has some aggressive pass-rushers, so this is a great test to see if the Packers can hold up against a top notch defensive line. They have a rookie operating at left tackle and are really banged up across the board. If they can have a good showing here, it’ll offer a big boost of confidence going into a tough week one road matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

Beast Mode Sighting

Marshawn Lynch is always ready to churn out the yardage, but he could be extra hungry against a pretty weak Green Bay run defense. The Packers added some meat in rookie Datone Jones, but they’re still a soft run defense. Going against one of the better run-blocking/rushing teams in the league should help them nail down key weaknesses and improve, but in the process we might get one heck of a show from Lynch.

Is Golden Tate the Man?

Sidney Rice is still resting his knees and Percy Harvin is out until November, so this is Golden Tate’s show in the passing game – supposedly. I’m not convinced he’s a legit #1 receiver in any regard, but it will be interesting to see how he continues to handle that role here. Keep an eye on Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, as well.

Okay, Make it Seven Things to Watch…

Green Bay’s Secondary Wide Receivers

With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb on the shelf, we’ll get a long look at Jarrett Boykin, Charles Johnson and others. James Jones should operate as the #1 tonight, while the Packers get to test their young guys out to see how they might perform should they be pushed into action. With injuries holding back Nelson and the departed Greg Jennings in 2012, it’ll be nice to get a good look at the young receiving talent now, instead of being surprised by it in the middle of the season.

Packers Backup QB

The Green Bay quarterbacks beyond Aaron Rodgers are pretty rough, so it’ll be interesting to see who can separate themselves between Graham Harrell, B.J. Coleman and Vince Young. Young is easily the most talented and most experienced, but none of these passers has looked like NFL material through two preseason games. It won’t be easy to them to change that against a deep Seattle defense.

About the author: Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. In 2012, Roberts finished 16th overall in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup’s NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin

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