SEATTLE — The Seahawks-Packers game figures to be the closest of all the playoff games this weekend.
Here are five things to look for in the matchup on Jan. 12 in which the Packers are favored by three-and-half points.
Seahawks offensive line vs. Packers pass rush
The Packers have two of the NFL's top 10 pass rushers in Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith. They combined for 25.5 of the Packers' 41 sacks this season, so they will be a handful for the Seahawks' beat-up offensive line, considering the Hawks rank 26th in sacks allowed this season. If left tackle Duane Brown can make it back from knee surgery, he still won't be at 100 percent, so it could take a herculean effort by the Hawks' offensive line to keep the Pack off the back of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Corralling Russell Wilson
I say "corralling" because, let's face it, no defense is going to "stop" Wilson completely. He led the Hawks in rushing in the win over the Eagles, but that was out of necessity. His two running backs, Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch ran the ball 17 times for 19 yards.
Here's a little perspective: the Eagles ranked third in the NFL in stopping the run, so that was tough sledding in Philly. The Packers rank 23rd, so there is hope for a better ground game Sunday.
A better ground game will keep the Packers' defense honest and buy Wilson more time to throw. If the Packers allow Wilson to get loose and find his receivers during his inevitable scrambles, they will be in for a long day.
Seahawks vs Aaron and Aaron
Aaron Rodgers has logged a lot of miles, but he can still sling it and do it with efficiency. Of the quarterbacks who played all 16 games this season, no one threw fewer interceptions than Rodgers' four.
He's also playing in a much more balanced offense this season under new head coach Matt LaFleur. Rodgers' main weapon on offense is running back Aaron Jones, who rushed for nearly 1,100 yards and had close to 500 yards receiving.
The Seahawks can help themselves immensely if they can generate a pass rush, but that's a big ask from a team who ranked second to last in sacks this season.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is all about taking care of the football and it shows year after year. Turnovers could play a big role Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Hawks and Packers share a strong ranking in the turnover ratio department - they're tied for third at plus-12. To give that some perspective, the Giants and Chargers have given up the ball far more than they've taken it. They're tied for last in the league at minus-17.
Whenever you think Lambeau Field in January, it brings immediate thoughts of freezing temperatures and the Frozen Tundra. We've seen the Seahawks lose in the snow at Lambeau.
In a 2007 Divisional playoff game, the Packers beat the Seahawks, 42-20.
The forecast for Sunday is partly sunny with temperatures in the upper 20's. No snow, but as always in Green Bay, that could change.
A large group of Seahawks fans will be hitting the road to icy Wisconsin to watch the game. Seahawks Roadcrew will be holding fan events and a tailgate at Green Bay.