NFC Championship Preview – Packers and Seahawks X Factors

Luke Willson and Davante Adams could be in for big games.

Poppen Off on Packers at Seahawks


There will be a plethora of big names on the field when the Green Bay Packers visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday for a chance to play for the ultimate prize in football two weeks from Sunday. Everyone knows the names like Rodgers, Wilson, Lynch and Sherman. Those guys will obviously have a profound impact on this game, but it’s the other guys who often end up deciding the outcome of the game.

Below you will find my “X-Factor” players for what I believe will be a very dominating performance by the defending Super Bowl Champs.

Adams has become a factor in the Green Bay offense.

Adams has become a factor in the Green Bay offense.

WR: Davante Adams (Packers)

The last time these two teams met the game plan was to completely stay away from Richard Sherman’s side of the field. If that is indeed the case again this week the Packers will be much more prepared with a guy who proved last week he has the ability to break a game wide open. It was the rookie receiver, not Cobb or Nelson who carried this offense with a hobbled Rodgers looking to get the ball out quickly from inside the pocket.

The quick passing game is likely to be key again in this game, and that is where Adams will shine. This guy is money after the catch when catching the ball in space, and could very well end up deciding this game with a big play or two.

The Packers will try to pick on Maxwell.

The Packers will try to pick on Maxwell.

CB: Byron Maxwell (Seahawks)

The Packers targeted Maxwell twelve times back in week 1, and will surely look to pick on the weakest member of a stout Seahawks’ secondary once again. Maxwell will have the task of covering my other X Factor in this game in rookie receiver Devonte Adams, and may also be asked to cover Randall Cobb at times through the course of this game.

If Maxwell can prove up to the task Green Bay stands absolutely zero chance of winning this game, as it will cause Rodgers to start forcing the ball into parts of the field occupied by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Staying away from those two guys will be key to the success of Green Bay; I just don’t see a way in which they can pull it off.


TE: Luke Willson (Seahawks)

The Seattle tight end is widely viewed as just a possession receiver who is normally used to help block in the run game, but that is not entirely the case. Willson has been known to leak out into pass patterns and has become a favorite target of quarterback Russell Wilson once he breaks the pocket.

If Green Bay is forced to use their linebackers to blitz, the middle of the field will be wide open for a guy who has scored on an 80-yard touchdown pass this season. The Packers had better account for Luke Willson at all times, otherwise the tight end may come up and bite them on the ass with a big play deep down the middle of the field.

Starks led Green Bay in rushing last time against Seattle.

Starks led Green Bay in rushing last time against Seattle.

RB: James Starks (Packers)

Starks was one of the heroes of the Packers 2010 Super Bowl title run, and may very well end up playing a big role for this team once again. Eddie Lacy is going to be worn down running straight at the league’s third ranked run defense time and time again. Starks will be brought in on third-down situations, and will provide fresh legs to an offense looking to gain any advantage possible over this fantastic Seahawks front seven.

One place I would look for Starks to have an impact is in the passing game. Seattle will sometime over-pursue to one side assuming the run, this would be a perfect time for Rodgers to find the veteran running back on a screen play that can be taken 30 or 40 yards down the field. Starks may not be a household name across the league, but just ask any Packers fan and they will tell you all about his ability to break a game wide open on any given play.


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