Sunday will see the return of two of the league’s most influential and talented quarterbacks. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, and the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers’ are back after both had missed time due to injury and covid, respectively.
Both of these teams are always relevant come December and January when the playoff picture starts to take shape, but so far they are in different places. Green Bay are up there among the league’s best sides at 7-2, whilst Seattle has some work to do at 3-5.
Aaron Rodgers is good to go, after causing covid chaos
We had to wait until Saturday to find out if Green Bay’s franchise QB Aaron Rodgers was able to play or not, after he tested positive for covid last week. Rodgers missed their trip to Kansas City last Sunday, after testing positive on November 3rd, meaning that the earliest he could possibly return to the team was Saturday, when the 10 day isolation period was up. He then had to go through a physical evaluation and then also not have any symptoms in order to play. That process was due to him not being vaccinated. The 37-year-old has caused a stir in The States this week, as he lead many to believe that he was jabbed after stating he was ‘immunized’ in the offseason
You’d assume that would have meant that Rodgers had received a vaccine against covid, but instead, he sought homeopathic treatment to raise his antibody levels against it. His reasoning was fair enough, as it turned out he was allergic to an ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and was wary of the Johnson and Johnson one due to reports of others having adverse reactions.
What many are frustrated with is the fact he asked the league to be given vaccination status and be treated like someone who’s had the jab. Rodgers had been following some protocols for vaccinated players and staff, such as not wearing a mask in press conferences, unlike the other un-vaxxed personnel, almost as if he was better than everyone else.
Seattle get Russ back just in time to save the Hawks’ year
The Seahawks welcomed back their franchise quarterback Russell Wilson this week, just in time for a crucial NFC playoff seeding implicated matchup. Former Jets and Giants QB Geno Smith stepped in midway through their Thursday night game at home to the Rams in Week 5, after Wilson’s middle finger was fractured on an Aaron Donald hit. Smith started the following three games and did a pretty decent job, keeping the team competitive. They lost the first two (@ Pittsburgh, vs New Orleans) by 3 points, before demolishing Jacksonville 31-7 at Lumen field. Last Sunday was the teams’ bye week, meaning they head into the Week 10 affair at 3-5.
Coming into the weekend they looked to be getting healthier as starting RB Chris Carson was designated to return to practice on Wednesday, with the view of removing him from the injured reserve list. He went down with another neck injury in Week 4 and hasn’t played since. The fifth-year back will not suit up this week however, as head coach Pete Carroll wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy.
Doing my research this week I’ve noticed a few interesting numbers regarding the Seattle defense. We all know that the Seahawks D gives up a tonne of yardage, but surprisingly the unit is tied for 8th in points scoring, only allowing 22.1 points per game. A big factor for that is how good they are on third down. Ken Norton Jr’s unit are 6th in that category only allowing the opponent to convert 34% of the time.
A look at the Packers season so far
Green Bay’s huge loss to the Saints seems like it was years ago when in reality it’s been ten weeks. That shows just how far the team has come. The Packers had won seven straight before Sunday’s game without Rodgers, in which former 1st round pick Jordan Love made his first career start. The ex-Utah State Aggie showed flashes of good pocket presence, and knew when to use his legs for the most part, but struggled to move the ball downfield. Which can happen in your first start. He targeted Davantae Adams 14 times, but the two only connected 6 of those targets for 42 yards. Their offensive line was handed good news this week too, although David Bakhtiari is doubtful to play this week, he should be back in the not too distant future after being activated from the PUP list.
On the defensive side of the ball, things are looking pretty good, Rashan Gary and DeVondre Campbell have emerged as key pieces when you’d least expect. Green Bay are finally getting the production they expected out of the former Michigan Wolverine when using the twelfth overall pick on him in 2019. Gary’s been a bright spark in the absence of Zadarius Smith. Campbell on the other hand had hit a rough patch in his career last season, posting his worse PFF grade of 49.0 in his first and only year in Atlanta. Fast forward to 2021 though and he’s their number 1 graded LBer in the entire league (at 85.1). What a turnaround.
This is a pretty easy one to call in my opinion. Green Bay hasn’t lost to Seattle at Lambeau Field since 1999 (6 of those in the regular season, 3 in the postseason) and I don’t expect that to change. The Packers are favoured by 3.5 points, and I’d take that if I was you. It’ll be close, but I see the Packers winning by a TD or so.
Green Bay 35, Seattle 29