Seahawks may meet their match in 1-score games against the Packers
If it seems like the Seahawks have played in a lot of close games this season, well, it’s because they have. Seattle was 10-2 in the regular season in games decided by eight points or fewer and they won their 11th one-score game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round.
The Seahawks are not alone in that regard.
The team they face this Sunday in the divisional round, Green Bay, is no stranger to close contests either. The Packers went 8-1 in one-score games this season, meaning the two teams were a combined 18-3 in one-possession games.
Do these teams just know how to win close games? Or are Seattle and Green Bay not as good as their records would indicate?
Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Wednesday and said that these teams have to win close games because of how they’re built.
“Both offenses aren’t super explosive,” Bumpus said. “They can have explosive moments and put drives together, but you can’t expect these offenses to put up 30 points consistently.”
Seattle was ninth in the NFL in scoring offense during the regular season while Green Bay was 15th. Both teams had bruising running backs who ran for more than 1,000 yards in Chris Carson and Aaron Jones, but the Seahawks lost Carson to a season-ending injury in Week 16. Jones, meanwhile, will be playing Sunday coming off a bye.
Even though both teams played in some uncomfortably close games, Bumpus said good teams find ways to win, so there’s no reason to believe these teams are better or worse than their records would indicate because of their slim point differentials (Green Bay was plus-63 while Seattle was just plus-7).
“It’s all about winning in the NFL,” Bumpus said. “People get caught up in the stats and margin of victory and whatnot, but if you win the ball game, you move on. There’s no style points, there’s no GPA in the NFL. You don’t get extra points for beating someone by 50 points like it’s the (old college football ranking formula) back in the day. You just have to win.”
On defense, Seattle gave up the 22nd-most points in the NFL. Green Bay was ninth. Green Bay gave up the 15th-most yards per game while Seattle gave up the ninth-most.
With offenses and defense that are anywhere from slightly above average to below average, the quarterbacks have played huge roles in the team winning those close games. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was an MVP contender all season and was voted to the Associated Press’ All-Pro second team. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL since he took over as the starter in 2008, winning a Super Bowl and two MVP awards.
This year, Wilson and Rodgers have similar passing numbers. Wilson has just 108 more yards than Rodgers and leads in touchdown passes, 31 to 26. Both quarterbacks have been great at preventing turnovers, as Wilson has just five interceptions and Rodgers has even less with four.
Even though Green Bay has an explosive running back in Jones, Bumpus said the Aaron throwing the ball is more critical to the Packers’ success.
“If Aaron Rodgers can get going, he is the guy,” Bumpus said. “He is the catalyst on this Green Bay Packers team.”
Listen to the discussion at this link or in the player below.