History favors Hawks, but what about formula for beating them?

Hawks vs Packers Bennett sacks RodgersAlmost every statistic and numerous
immeasurables point to the Seahawks beating the Packers today and advancing to the
Super Bowl for the
second straight year.

But there is a formula for beating Seattle — it’s just a question of whether it still works.

First, consider these pro-Seattle stats:

**The Seahawks’ average margin of victory in eight home wins this season was 15.4.

**The Seahawks are 9-1 at home in rematches over the past three seasons. The average margin of victory is 18.2.

**The Seahawks have won eight straight home playoff games.

**Russell Wilson is 25-2 at home, including 3-0 in playoff games.

**The top two seeds have met in the NFC title game 15 times since this playoff system was installed in 1990. The No. 1 scoring defense has been involved in three of the 15 games and has won each time. (Seattle is No. 1 this season.)

**The only other time in NFL history the No. 1 scoring offense and No. 1 scoring defense met in a conference title game was in 1980 — Philadelphia’s top-ranked defense shut down Dallas’ offense in the Eagles’ 20-7 win.

**The last time the No. 1 offense faced the No. 1 defense at any point in the postseason was — yep — Super Bowl XLVIII. We all remember what happened in that one.

So, what does Green Bay have to do to buck all of those trends?

Well, if you go by the four games the Seahawks lost this season, the Packers will have to stick to the run, protect Aaron Rodgers, not throw interceptions, capitalize on red-zone scoring chances and get into the end zone at least three times.

How they beat Seattle

The four teams that beat the Hawks this season gave up two total sacks, ran an average of 32.5 times for 138.8 yards, did not throw an interception and each scored three TDs in the red zone.

So, if the Packers want to have a shot, they have to continue to ride running back Eddie Lacy, who had a season-low 34 yards against Seattle in the opener but has averaged 99 yards per game and 5.1 per carry over his last seven games, including 100 on 26 carries against Detroit’s top-ranked run defense in Week 17.

The Packers’ offensive line struggled against Seattle’s front in the season opener, especially after right tackle Bryan Bulaga left with an injury. But Bulaga is healthy, and rookie center Corey Linsley has had a full season to improve.

The Packers have protected very well against some great defenses in recent weeks. They gave up just one sack against Buffalo’s top-ranked pass rush in Week 15 (although Rodgers threw two interceptions and the Packers lost), and Detroit’s defense also got Rodgers just once in Week 17.

The Cowboys sacked Rodgers twice last week, but he also threw three TD passes and no interceptions.

So, if the Packers were facing the same Seattle defense that failed in four losses, they certainly would seem to have a good chance.

But …

This is not the same defense.

Seattle is playing the best defense of the five-year Pete Carroll era, getting sacks (26 over the last seven games) and turnovers (six in the last two games) and not giving up points in the second half (just 20 in the last seven games).

Carroll preaches finishing, and the Seahawks are finishing better than ever.

That could make it pretty tough for the Packers to overcome all of those other pro-Seattle trends.


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