Originally published September 24th, 2012
It’s the slow building rumble, the anticipation that starts from the gut and explodes in a wave of sound that’s so strong that it shakes a city. It’s hands that are so raw that they look like they’ve been dipped in a bucket of red paint, and a voice that by Monday is so decimated that everyone knows where you were the day before. The Green Bay Packers enter Century Link Field tonight, in the most anticipated Seahawks game of the season. Seattle takes center stage — It’s Monday Night Football.
The Seahawks last home MNF game against the Green Bay Packers was in 2006. It was the year after the Seattle Seahawks went to the Super Bowl, and everyone outside of Pennsylvania would agree that the Seahawks were the victims of a Super Bowl officiating crew that was so bad, that we’ll be checking tonight to make sure they haven’t been hired as replacement referees. The Hawks beat the Packers, sending a stadium full of happy fans into the snow covered streets and their 4 to 6hr drives home. But 2006 was a long time ago — Both teams have seen a complete overhaul, and the Packers are coming off not only a playoff appearance in 2011, but a Super Bowl Championship in 2010. What are the expectations for tonight? The Seahawks lead with an unproven rookie Quarterback, while the Packers offer a veteran Defense and an MVP-level Quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. From an outsider perspective it’s a no-win situation for the Hawks. The team is a 3-point underdog in their home stadium. The Hawks haven’t been an at home underdogs since… well, since last week when the Seahawks destroyed the Dallas Cowboys.
There’s a buzz in the city, and an unquiet confidence. As fans, the entire aura of the 12th man has created an atmosphere at Century Link that’s palpable to anyone that goes in. Teams and broadcasters alike acknowledge the impact the stadium has on the opposing team and it should. As Seahawk fans we expect to win at home. It’s exciting as a fan to experience it, and it translates at home when you can’t make it to the game. The Seahawks have created a culture and experience that could be argued is second to none in the NFL. Move past that though. 3-point dogs at home?!
- Both teams are 1-1 to start the season. The Seahawks loss was against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, a game that we should have won. The Packers loss was against the 49’ers at Lambeau Field, where they lost 30-22, but only after scoring 15 points in the 4th quarter.
- Through 2 games, the Seahawks and Packers are nearly identical for First Downs achieved and allowed on defense. The Packers are clearly a pass-focused team with nearly 500 yards passing over two games, but their running game is non-existent and there’s a huge difference in time of possession that favors the Hawks and their run-focused attack.
- The Packers first two games have been played at home. It’s the Packers first regular season game on the road, and it’s in Seattle, a stadium that has forced more false starts that any stadium in the National Football League.
- Oh, and Aaron Rodgers is 0-4 on the road on Monday Night Football with 7 Touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Last I checked, Monday night games counted the same as Sunday or Thursday games, but it’s apparent that Aaron Rodgers plays very differently on the road on Monday nights when compared to his 3-0 record at home.
I understand why the line favors the Packers, I just don’t think it should. I look at the stats and see an overall even matchup. It’s natural to go with the team that’s won more games over the last few years and has the veteran presence to back it up, but what enough people don’t take into account is the difference between the two teams. Coach Carroll has the Seahawks running a balanced offense. The Packers will win or lose the game because of Aaron Rodgers, but the Seahawks will not necessarily win or lose it because of Russell Wilson. If Aaron Rodgers is shut down by the Seattle defense, the Packers will not win the game. They haven’t established a clear running attack, and you’re not going to do that in a hostile environment on the road. Conversely, the Hawks have shown that they can switch gears. When Wilson has started slow, they’ve moved to the run, and when the run has opened up its allowed Wilson to establish time in the pocket and time for receivers to get open. Coach Carroll has put Russell Wilson in a position to win, and Wilson is making the right decisions on the field.
It’s an exciting time to be a Seahawks fan. There are few defenses in the League with our teams speed, youth, or aggression. We have a young and exciting Quarterback in Russell Wilson. He’s showing a maturity and calmness on the field that is unique for a player his age. The Seattle Seahawks are on the rise and doing what they’ve always done, still struggling to get respect. Tonight is the night to prove it again on national television. Go Hawks!