Among the top four teams in the N.F.C. all season, the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) and the Green Bay Packers (13-3) will finally get a chance to face off, with a trip to face the top-seed San Francisco 49ers (13-3) in the N.F.C. conference championship on the line. The temperature at kickoff should be in the mid-20s, and there is a strong chance that snow will begin to fall shortly thereafter. But keep this in mind: Seattle, which is a mild underdog in the game, has not played a game with a kickoff temperature below 40 degrees this season, and quarterback Russell Wilson is 0-3 at Lambeau Field in his career.
How to watch: The game will kick off at 6:40 p.m. Eastern. It will be broadcast on Fox and streamed live on FuboTV.
Here are some things to consider going into the game:
Sharing the Load
For years, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has kept the Packers in nearly every game, while often receiving fairly little help from his running game. This season, he finally was able to share the load. While no one would mistake Green Bay’s running game for those of Baltimore, San Francisco or Tennessee, the fact remains that running back Aaron Jones tied for the N.F.L. lead with 19 total touchdowns, falling just one short of the Packers’ franchise record of 20, which was set by Ahman Green in 2003.
The undersized Jones had 1,558 yards from scrimmage and appeared to be the single biggest beneficiary of a new offense installed by Coach Matt LaFleur. While it was fairly strange to see Green Bay ranked higher as a running team (15th) than a passing team (17th), Rodgers seemed happier than he had in years — which may have had something to do with the team’s 13-3 record being its best mark since 2011.
Trending in the Wrong Direction
Earlier this season, quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seahawks could do no wrong. He had a passer rating that exceeded 100 in eight of his nine games and Seattle was 7-2. He reached that efficiency marker just once in his final seven games of the regular season, and the Seahawks, thanks to three losses in their last four games, gave up a legitimate shot at the No. 1 seed in the N.F.C.
Wilson rebounded some with a 325-yard effort in last week’s win over Philadelphia, adding 45 more yards on the ground, but with a defense far more pedestrian than Seattle has been accustomed to in previous seasons, this much has been made clear: The Seahawks will go as far as Wilson takes them. If he cannot secure his first career win at Lambeau Field, Seattle’s season will end.
Marshawn Lynch’s second career return from retirement has only seen the 33-year-old running back gain 41 yards on the ground in two games, but he has more than proved his worth with two sensational touchdowns: a flying leap in a Week 17 loss to San Francisco, and a vintage Beast Mode blast through a group of defenders in last week’s wild-card round win over Philadelphia. Coach Pete Carroll, in a nod to the frigid conditions expected in Green Bay, said during the week that Lynch would see an increase in his workload.
While the Smiths (Preston and Za’Darius) might make life miserable for Wilson, the rest of Green Bay’s defense may struggle to contain whatever combination of rookie running back Travis Homer and Lynch that Seattle throws at them. The Packers allowed 4.7 yards a carry this season, which tied for 24th in the N.F.L., and Lynch’s style does not suffer under poor conditions, should Lambeau Field prove to be an issue.