Packers no stranger to Seahawks, Russell Wilson

NFC rivals meeting for eighth time in last eight years

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Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

GREEN BAY – Davante Adams had the line of the week when it comes to the Packers facing the Seahawks.

"It kind of feels like a division game for me, honestly," the All-Pro receiver said.

Indeed, the frequency with which these two teams have met is startling. Dating back to Adams' rookie year in 2014, Sunday will be the eighth time, including playoffs, he's squared off against the Seahawks.

For comparison's sake, the next most for Green Bay in that same time frame against a non-division opponent is six contests, vs. the Falcons, Cowboys and 49ers.

Going back another decade or so, this will mark the 16th time the Packers and Seahawks have met since 2003. That includes four playoff contests.

The most remarkable aspect to this series has been the home team's dominance, which the Packers hope to continue, of course. Of the last 15 meetings, 14 have been won by the home team.

The only road victory this century was turned in by the Packers way back in 2008, when Aaron Rodgers was in his first year as a starting quarterback. It remains the Packers' only triumph in the 20 years of existence of what is now known as Lumen Field. That year, Green Bay won a rather ho-hum game (in a rather ho-hum season for both teams), 27-17.

Otherwise, there's been plenty of drama, from the Fail Mary ('12) to multiple postseason overtimes ('03, '14). Seven of the 15 games have been decided by one score, including the last three ('17, '18, '19 postseason).

"We've played in the playoffs, start the season, end the season, middle, here, there, so we've definitely had our experience with them," Adams said.

Since that infamous Fail Mary game nine years ago, the series has featured Rodgers and Russell Wilson at quarterback, the matchup that's anticipated Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Wilson is back from missing three games due to surgery on a finger on his throwing hand, while Rodgers is eligible to come off the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing last week's game, though there's no guarantee he'll be activated.

Head-to-head, Wilson won the first three meetings while Rodgers has taken four of the last five. Again, in this context, the QB playing at home has won every time.

Listening to the Packers' defensive players and coaches talk about facing Wilson this week, they're ready for the classic scrambling, improvising Russell.

Safety Darnell Savage said the defense has to be ready for plays to last "15, 20" seconds with Wilson. While that's an exaggeration, it's not a bad mindset to have.

Outside linebackers coach Mike Smith considers him the most creative and difficult-to-rush QB next to Baltimore's Lamar Jackson. Smith and defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who faced Wilson twice a year over the last four years on the Rams' defensive coaching staff, both emphasized the fine line pass rushers have to walk against him – staying disciplined in rush lanes without being afraid to get after him.

"You rush scared and you're sitting there peeking at the line of scrimmage and looking, you're making it easy for him," Smith said. "We have to understand what front we're in and take calculated risks."

Wilson was off to a tremendous start in 2021 before the finger injury – a career-best 72% completion rate, 10 TD passes against just one INT, and a 125.3 passer rating. He's rushed for only 68 yards in five games, well off his 500-yard pace from 2020, but that threat never goes away, and he's always looking to make plays outside the pocket regardless.

Defensively, the Packers have had their share of success against Wilson. Over the last six matchups, Green Bay has sacked him 21 times and intercepted him 10 times, though nine of the picks came in just two games.

This Packers' defense, which is the best one to face him since the 2014 NFC title game, has received all the preparation against a mobile QB it could ask for over the last three games.

Washington's Taylor Heinicke gashed the Packers with his scrambling, which led to much more disciplined pass-rushing efforts against Arizona's Kyler Murray and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes.

Wilson has dramatized his return to action on social media, and the narrative from Seattle is he's coming back to save the Seahawks' season, which currently stands at 3-5.

Rodgers or no Rodgers, the Packers are as ready as they can be.

"I expect a playoff-caliber team to come in here," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said, "and give us everything they have."

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