PFF Preview: Packers @ Seahawks, NFC Championship
The last time the Green Bay Packers traveled to Century Link Field, they kicked off their 2014 season with a 36-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. That being said, a lot has transpired since Week 1, as the Packers hope for a different result this time around, while the Seahawks compete for their second consecutive Lombardi Trophy.
A matchup that will likely have an impact on who moves on to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX will be that of Packers running back Eddie Lacy against Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner. If Lacy is able to produce yards on early downs, putting Rodgers in manageable situations, he’ll help relieve some of the pressure off of Rodgers and his ailing calf.
Although Lacy struggled at the start of the season, earning three ‘negative’ red grades in the first four weeks, he finished strong and has managed to put together a run grade of +9.1 (playoffs included), good for seventh among all running backs. Perhaps the most impressive part of Lacy’s 1,241 rushing yards (seventh) is the fact that 724 of those yards came after contact (fourth). On 264 carries, Lacy has forced 52 missed tackles (fifth) and picked up 2.74 yards after contact per attempt, generating an Elusive Rating of 68.8, third among 38 RB’s with a minimum of 113 attempts. Clearly, Lacy is known for his bruising style of running, yet his 20 runs (second) of 15+ yards have compiled 433 yards (fourth), a Breakaway Percentage of 34.9 (fourth).
Seeing as how 69% of Lacy’s carries have come between the tackles, Wagner and his +12.7 defensive run grade will need to be very active from the inside linebacker position, in order to limit Lacy’s production. Wagner’s has played well against the run, finishing the regular season ranked second against the run amongst all ILB’s. Wagner’s 31 stops and 39 tackles compiled against the run have helped him produce a Run Stop Percentage of 12.0, tied for fourth amid 60 ILB’s with a minimum of 116 run snaps.
Here are five more notable numbers for each side:
Green Bay Packers
Mike Daniels – Daniels has put together quite the season, earning a +9.4 defensive run grade and a +10.8 rush grade to go along with his Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP) of 9.2 (sixth among qualifying 3-4 DE’s).
Julius Peppers – Peppers finished the regular season with a +15.5 pass rush grade, the best he’s produced since 2011.
Tramon Williams – After earning a regular season coverage grade of +2.7, Williams struggled in last week’s divisional round, receiving a -2.4 grade.
Aaron Rodgers – Although Rodgers has been bothered by the calf injury, he posted an Accuracy Percentage of 75.0% when he faced pressure in last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
John Kuhn – With a blocking grade of +3.4, Kuhn finished the regular season ranked fifth among all fullbacks.
Marshawn Lynch – Lynch has forced 95 missed tackles on the ground (including playoffs) and has an Elusive Rating of 96.8; both are No. 1 for all RB’s.
Doug Baldwin – Baldwin has been targeted a team-high 16 times deep downfield (20+yards), catching nine, including two touchdowns.
Bruce Irvin – Irvin will also play an important role in limiting Lacy come this Sunday, as his run defense grade of +12.3 ranks third on the team.
Michael Bennett – Including the playoffs, Bennett has a PRP of 13.2 from the left side, compared to a PRP of 6.7 from the right side.
Russell Wilson – Out of all the quarterbacks who played in last week’s divisional round, Wilson led the way with an Accuracy Percentage of 66.7% on balls traveling 20+ yards, hitting on four of his six attempts.
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