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Enemy Confidential: Packers Aim to Continue Dominance Of Seahawks At Lambeau Field

It's been more than two decades since Seattle won at Lambeau and the team will once again face a stiff test on the road against a talented Green Bay squad built around Aaron Rodgers and a stifling defense.

For more than two decades, Lambeau Field has been a House of Horrors for the Seahawks, who haven't won a game at the historic stadium since way back in 1999. Since coach Mike Holmgren defeated his former team that year, the Packers have rattled off nine straight wins on their home turf, including three playoff games.

During those nine prior contests, Seattle has had trouble slowing down Green Bay's perennially prolific offense. With two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers under center and a bevy of weapons around them, the Packers have averaged 32 points per game, scoring at least 35 points on four different occasions.

The Seahawks have also had their struggles offensively, particularly in the first half. In their past four visits to Lambeau with coach Pete Carroll on the sideline and quarterback Russell Wilson running the show, they have scored a total of 12 points in eight quarters of play, falling behind by a combined score of 55-12. While valiant comeback efforts were made in several of those games, the deficits proved to be too much to overcome.

As Seattle looks to avoid a 10-game losing streak at Lambeau, Carroll's squad will have to deal with a talented Green Bay team that has rolled out to a 7-2 start with a different formula than prior seasons. After years of Rodgers leading top-five offenses to compensate for subpar defenses, behind the coaching of coordinator Joe Berry, the Packers will enter Sunday's matchup ranked sixth in points allowed.

What's been the key to the Packers success? Despite losing several key players to injury, including pass rusher ZaDarius Smith, Carroll has been impressed by their ability to pressure quarterbacks, limit explosives in the passing game, and consistently win the turnover battle.

“They have done a really good job of staying on top and not giving up big plays," Carroll said of the Packers. "They just play good defense, tough football up front. They get the football too, they create turnovers. They are in great shape turnover wise as a team. It’s obvious why they are winning. They are just really solid across the board. Their edge players are really good, Kenny Clark has been a fantastic player inside, so it’s a great group.”

As the Seahawks aim to get the monkey off their back and finally win in Lambeau for the first time in 21 years, here’s a closer look at their Week 10 opponent, including series history, additions/departures, schematic insight, key numbers, and Carroll’s evaluation of the Packers.

Series History

20th regular season meeting. The Packers hold an 11-8 advantage in the series, including winning three of the past four matchups between the two franchises.

This series has been dominated by the home team, with Green Bay winning nine consecutive games at Lambeau Field dating back to 2003. Three of those games were playoff matchups, including defeating Seattle in the Divisional Round in 2019. Meanwhile, the Seahawks haven't lost to the Packers at Lumen Field since 2008 when Mike Holmgren still roamed the sideline and have gone 6-2 at home in the series. Each franchise has gone on two separate three game winning streaks, with the Packers most recently accomplishing the feat from 2015 to 2017.

What's New

Departures: While it was expected given the team's cap issues, All-Pro center Corey Linsley departed to sign a multi-year deal with the Chargers in free agency, creating a significant void in the middle of the Packers' offensive line. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon already on the roster, Jamaal Williams wasn't re-signed and joined the Lions as a free agent. Veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey also left to sign with the Texans. On the coaching staff, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wasn't retained and the team replaced him with Joe Barry.

Additions: Per usual, Green Bay didn't make many moves in free agency, but the team did sign veteran linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, who has started all nine games so far and has a team-high two interceptions. To appease Rodgers, the Packers re-acquired wideout Randall Cobb from the Texans prior to the start of training camp for a 2022 sixth-round pick. Most recently, another former Texan in linebacker Whitney Mercilus joined the team last month after being waived and has played in the past three games. Several rookies from Green Bay's 2021 draft class have made a significant impact, with first-round pick Eric Stokes starting six games at cornerback, third-round pick Josh Myers starting five games at center, and fourth-round pick Royce Newman starting all nine games at guard.

Injury Report

Prior to last Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, rookie cornerback Eric Stokes tweaked his knee and wasn't able to play. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark would later exit with a back issue and did not return. But both players were limited participants on Wednesday and Thursday, a positive sign the two starters may be available for the Packers this weekend. Green Bay could also be receiving a major boost on the offensive line with All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari activated from the PUP list and potentially making his 2021 debut on Sunday.

Inside The Scheme

From a personnel standpoint, the Packers deploy 12 personnel with one running back, two tight ends, and two receivers 31 percent of their plays, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL per Sharp Football Stats. LaFleur's offense also ranks in the middle of the pack for 11 personnel usage at 61 percent and will occasionally sprinkle in three tight end and two back formations.

Schematically, per Pro Football Focus, Green Bay has remained zone-heavy on the ground, dialing up primarily outside zone runs on 62 percent of their rushes. LaFleur also loves to mix in screens to backs and receivers, with Rodgers second behind only Tom Brady with 45 completed screen passes for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Packers have relied mostly on the quick passing game, with Rodgers at this most effective throwing 10 of his 17 touchdowns either behind the line of scrimmage or under nine yards.

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Defensively, coordinator Joe Berry has taken what he learned working with former Rams coordinator and current head coach Brandon Staley for a year and put those schematic principles into action with the Packers. Green Bay has utilized a bevy of different coverages, but has deployed Cover 4 "quarters" coverage extensively while mixing in a fair amount of man coverage.

Unlike former coordinator Mike Pettine, Berry's unit hasn't blitzed much, as the Packers rank 22nd overall with a 24.7 blitz percentage according to Pro Football Reference. While they haven't brought five or more defenders much in comparison to most teams and rank 27th in pressure percentage, however, they've been efficient getting to opposing quarterbacks. They rank 11th in sacks (41) and 11th in sack rate (6.36 percent).

By The Numbers

4.4: Yards per attempt by Rodgers when under pressure, 29th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks per Pro Football Focus

786: Receiving for Adams, fourth-most among NFL receivers through nine weeks

55.8: Red zone touchdown percentage, ranking 20th in the league

39.2: Third down conversion percentage, ranking 18th in the league

25: Missed tackles forced by Aaron Jones, eighth-most among running backs

22: Passes of 20-plus yards allowed, seventh-fewest in the NFL.

14: Total takeaways defensively, tied for fifth-most in NFL.

6.36: Sack rate per 100 drop backs, 11th in NFL

76: Red zone touchdown percentage against, 31st in the league

42: Pressures by Rashan Gary, tied for fifth most per Pro Football Focus

Carroll's Thoughts

--On Green Bay running back duo Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon: “Aaron has a real knack about him. He can run tough, he can get small in the hole, he can make you miss, he’s really good in the backfield, and then when he needs a break, here comes A.J. [Dillon]. They are loaded, those two guys are a fantastic duo. They are both averaging over four yards per carry, they are getting the ball fairly equally, so you can see why they rely on going to those guys, they are just that good and they have been able to have a great control the ball offense and also have the ability to explode with Davante [Adams] out there and with what Aaron Rodgers can do. Aaron Jones is really good, he’s just really good.”

--On what makes Davante Adams such a difficult receiver to defend: "He has everything you are looking for. He has stature, he’s a very competitive catcher, there’s no ball that he doesn’t think he can’t catch, he has great catching range, route runner, he’s really good after the catch, he’s excellent at making guys miss and bouncing off of tackles, and he does not go down easily because he’s such a great competitor. The worst part for us is that the quarterback knows he’s out there, so they keep giving the ball to him. He’s probably averaged 15 or 16 targets a game for the last three or four games he’s played in. They are just going to go to him and use him. They do a great job of that.”

--On the emergence of Rashan Gary, who leads the Packers in sacks and quarterback pressures: “He’s really fast, he’s aggressive, he’s elusive, he’s long and tough, he really plays the edge and mixes the way he plays the edge, so he keeps you guessing on whether he is attacking or finessing. He’s a really talented football player. All of the base defenses he’s on the edge, then all of the nickel situations, there he is, so he’s an excellent player.”