The Packers signed big free agents in the past (Reggie White and Charles Woodson) that have come into the organization and completely changed the trajectory of the team. This offseason the Packers were looking to strike gold again, bringing in Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos. Many thought that Za’Darius Smith’s contract of four years and $66 million was an overpay, it has been anything but.
Za’Darius Smith dominated offenses this year and posted career numbers in sacks (13.5), tackles for losses (17), quarterback hits (37), and pressures (50). He left offensive linemen looking foolish this season and the best example of his abilities was the week 16 game against the Vikings. He finished with 3.5 sacks, five tackles, and five quarterback hits. He is the driving force of the Packers defense and a leader on and off the field. Smith completely changed the Packers defense and looks to have the best game in green and gold in the Divisional Round against the Seahawks this Sunday.
The Seahawks are facing one of their toughest challenges of the season in the Green Bay Packers. Za’Darius Smith presents a difficult challenge for the Seahawks. He is naturally an edge rusher, but is used all over the defensive line. Smith will line up on either side of the line or provide a rush up the middle. The clip below shows his monstrous performance against the Vikings. At the 1:00 mark, you will see Za’Darius Smith line up on the inside and record one of his five tackles for a loss.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they are weak in the middle of their offensive line. They have the 29th lowest yard per carry (3.87) when they rush up in the middle of the line. Smith will wreak havoc against an offensive line that has been struggling and has injuries throughout the offensive line. Their starting guard Iupati is doubtful for the game, and tackles Fant and Brown are questionable. With the Packers’ defensive tackles Kenny Clark and Tyler Lancaster both questionable, they will rely on Smith to solidify the interior of the defense.
The Seattle Seahawks have given up the ninth most sacks during the regular season with 48. As mentioned previously, the Seahawks offensive line is injured. Even without injuries they are a below average offensive line going against a top rushing attack. The Seahawks are 3rd for pressures allowed while the Green Bay Packers are 3rd in creating pressure.
On defense, the #Packers are vulnerable on the ground but the #Seahawks top two RBs are hurt and they’ve been brutal running it lately. #Seahawks are 3rd worst allowing pressure. #Packers are 3rd best creating pressure.
Sup Super Smith Brothers 🤝
— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) January 10, 2020
The Packers will look to contain Russell Wilson, who has been playing at an MVP level this season. He is one of the best at extending plays and finding open receivers for first downs on plays that looked broken up. With the Seahawks having trouble blocking up the middle, Smith should be able to get into the backfield with ease. Since Smith will likely be playing more on the inside because of the injuries of Clark and Lancaster, look for Fackrell and Gary to play a bigger role. They will also provide more athleticism to try to match that of Russell Wilson.
The level of play that Za’Darius Smith has been displaying is game changing. If he continues showing his dominance throughout his time in Green Bay, he will surely be mentioned in the same conversation as Charles Woodson and Reggie White when fans talk about impactful free agents. Smith will look to make a statement in his first playoff game wearing the green and gold at Lambeau Field.