What’s the biggest matchup the Seahawks need to win on Sunday?

Jan 9, 2020, 1:24 PM

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch...

Seahawks RBs Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer had 19 yards on 17 carries on Sunday. (Getty)


In order for the Seahawks to advance to the NFC Championship, they need to get through a tough road matchup with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

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Seattle and Green Bay have both shown the ability to win close games, combining for 18 regular season victories by 8 points or fewer, and both have elite quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers.

Outside of quarterback play, what is the matchup that the Seahawks need to win in order to advance to the NFC Championship?

Michael Bumpus and Danny O’Neil shared their thoughts on the 710 ESPN Seattle Seahawks Playoff Round Table.

“They’ve got to win the rushing game matchup,” Bumpus said. “I’ve got to look at Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch versus the Packers’ front seven.”

Last week in Seattle’s 17-9 win against the Philadelphia Eagles, Homer and Lynch combined for just 17 yards on 19 carries, with 12 of those yards coming on one Homer run and the other 5 yards on Lynch’s touchdown run. The other 17 carries combined for 0 yards.

The Eagles were the third-best team at stopping the run this year, while the Packers were 23rd.

“They cannot repeat that this week,” Bumpus said. “Thankfully, this Green Bay defense gives up 120 yards per game. The Hawks typically average 130 yards per game (rushing) so I think they’ve just got to get back on track. They’ve got to slow the game down if they can and just keep this defense honest.”

For O’Neil, he thinks the key matchup for Seattle is also on offense, but he thinks Seattle needs to make the most of their scoring opportunities.

“I think it’s going to be Seattle’s red zone offense,” he said. “Green Bay’s defense, statistically, the thing that it’s best at is keeping opponents from scoring touchdowns when they get in scoring position.”

Green Bay was 18th in the league in yards allowed per game, but were ninth in scoring defense, allowing just 19.8 points per game. A big reason for that is they played well in the red zone, forcing teams to settle for field goals.

“Opponents have scored a touchdown only 50% of the time they get inside the 20, inside the red zone,” O’Neil said of the Packers defense.

Seattle was the ninth-best team at scoring touchdowns in the red zone, to a tune of 62.9%, per teamrankings.com. They will need to be especially good inside the 20 because O’Neil thinks that, unless there’s a lot of snow, the Packers will be able to score on the Seahawks defense.

“I don’t see them winning a game in the 20s,” O’Neil said. “I think they’re going to need to score the equivalent of four touchdowns … I think Green Bay is going to move the ball pretty well.”

Listen to Bumpus and O’Neil discuss Sunday’s matchup with Bob Stelton on the Seahawks Playoff Round Table at this link or the in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil and Michael Bumpus on Twitter.

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What’s the biggest matchup the Seahawks need to win on Sunday?