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Don't overlook Seattle defense


Mike McCarthy sees better days ahead for the Packers offense.

"We're not far off on offense. We'll play better on offense. I'm confident with that," McCarthy said.

All of that is encouraging for Packers fans, but fans are an impatient lot and what they most want to know is when they might expect the 2012 Packers offense to more closely resemble the 2011 edition. Might it happen this Monday night in Seattle?

Yeah, it might, but don't make the mistake of overlooking the Seahawks, especially the Seahawks' defense, a unit Pete Carroll has been building in the USC image since leaving USC for Seattle in 2010.

Last season, the Seahawks finished No. 9 in overall defense, with a nice balance of No. 15 against the run and No. 11 against the pass. The only negative number on the Seattle defense's resume was a No. 23 ranking in sacks per pass play.

Taking aim at that sacks ranking, the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin in the first round of this year's draft, and Irvin has a half sack through two games this season, but the Seahawks only have two total.

In just about every other way, the Seahawks defense is a unit to be respected. It's No. 6 overall, No. 2 against the run and No. 14 against the pass. It's not a defense loaded with household names, but it is loaded with young speed, especially at linebacker and in the secondary, and it plays with its head coach's energy.

Coming off a win over the Bears that revealed a greatly improved running game, Aaron Rodgers and company seem poised to take the offense to a higher level, and it will certainly require a higher level of performance against a Seahawks defense that might be one of the most underrated units in the league.

Patience is not underrated.

Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Seahawks.

1. Stop the run—Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 207 yards and has the Seahawks' running game at No. 7.

2. Force them to pass—The Seahawks are last in the league in pass offense.

3. Pass the ball—A little bit of run is always a good thing, but Rodgers should be expected to have time to throw, and when you give him time to throw...

4. Keep Wilson in the pocket—His mobility is his greatest asset at this point.

5. Get a lead—It's the most effective way to deal with crowd noise.

6. Get your hands up—Carroll says Wilson has always found a way to overcome his lack of height, but it's no less a fact that he's 5-11.

7. Be stout on special teams—Seattle's special teams are strong.

8. Seize the opportunity—This is the third leg of a stiff September schedule, but a win would send the Packers home to host the Saints and into a favorable October slate.

9. Catch the ball—Dropped passes are a problem that must be eliminated for the Packers offense to get back to where it was last season.

10. Convert third-and-one—The Packers left a minimum of nine plays on the field against Chicago because they failed to convert third-and-one. Additional coverage - Sept. 21

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