Friday 17 January 2020

Seahawks hoping road is where the heart is

American football

Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson. Photo: Getty Images
Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson. Photo: Getty Images

The bye-week breaks are over for the top two seeds in the AFC and NFC after a, well, wild wild-card weekend to open the NFL play-offs.

That means it's back to work for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who welcome the in-form Seattle Seahawks to Lambeau Field tomorrow night.

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Russell Wilson and Co have been a tough team to face at home for years, using their ear-splitting "12th Man" crowd to overwhelm opponents, but they've flipped the script this year.

Seattle has won eight out of nine on the road, including a 17-9 win at Philadelphia last Sunday. They'll have to keep that road warrior mentality going to the Packers' back yard.

"There's no tougher place to play than going to Green Bay," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.

Still, Seattle won't be fazed, especially if its defence puts together another performance like last week's, when they had seven sacks to set a franchise post-season record. They'll have to do it against Rodgers, who is right at home in the play-offs. He ranks fifth in NFL post-season history with 36 touchdown passes.

"They're tough to beat when they're away from their home stadium, which is kind of an outlier in this league," said the Packers' Matt LaFleur, who is the fifth rookie coach to win 13 or more games in a season.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the only team of these final eight who got at least this far last year; the Baltimore Ravens, Seahawks and Houston Texans all lost in the wild-card round. The San Francisco 49ers, Packers, Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings didn't even make the postseason a year ago.

"It's the playoffs," said 49ers quarter-back Jimmy Garoppolo, who will make the first post-season start of his career. "You've got to love it."

The 49ers (13-3) are the top seed in the NFC and take on the visiting Vikings (11-6) in the first game tonight. That's followed by the Ravens (14-2), the No 1 team in the AFC, hosting the Titans (10-7).

Tomorrow, it's the Chiefs (12-4) at home against the Texans (11-6), followed by the Seahawks (12-5) at the Packers (13-3).

TONIGHT: (All Sky Sports) Vikings @ 49ers, 9.25; Titans @ Ravens, 1.15 am.

TOMORROW: Texans @ Chiefs, 8.05; Seahawks @ Packers, 11.40.

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