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Facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field is special – just ask Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 7, 2020

Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz, left, tries to hold off Seattle’s Quandre Diggs during the second half of an NFL wild-card game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (Julio Cortez / AP)
Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz, left, tries to hold off Seattle’s Quandre Diggs during the second half of an NFL wild-card game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (Julio Cortez / AP)
By Adam Jude Seattle Times

SEATTLE – For many Seahawks, a visit to Green Bay’s iconic Lambeau Field for the divisional-round playoff game Sunday will be a foreign feeling.

For Quandre Diggs, the setting will be quite familiar.

Playing for Detroit the past four seasons, Diggs made annual visits to Green Bay in their NFC North matchups, and he spoke in awe of the mystique of Lambeau.

It is, he said, the only stadium where he was compelled to take personal photos before the game, to capture the feeling of his first visit there.

“It’s special,” he said.

The 26-year-old free safety plans to talk to teammates this week about what to expect there Sunday evening.

“I can definitely give guys (an idea) of what it’s going to be like,” Diggs said after the Seahawks’ 17-9 victory over the Eagles, the first playoff victory of his NFL career.

“It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be hostile. Those fans are going to be wired up. … But it’ll be very special for a lot of these guys who have never been there. You always hear about Lambeau when you’re younger, and being able to play a playoff game is going to be special.”

The Seahawks (12-5) will play their first game in Green Bay since the season opener in 2017 (a 17-9 Packers victory). This will be the Seahawks’ first playoff game at Lambeau since the 2007 season – a 42-20 Green Bay victory in what would be Seattle coach Mike Holmgren’s final playoff game.

The Packers (13-3), the NFC North champions, had a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Green Bay weather forecast calls for a high of 29 Sunday, and a 10% chance of precipitation.

This will be Diggs’ fifth game at Lambeau. In seven games overall against the Packers, he has 27 tackles, four pass breakups and an interception (off backup quarterback DeShone Kizer in the final game of the 2018 season in Green Bay).

The Lions were 5-2 against the Packers with Diggs on the field.

“I’ve been playing these guys for a long time. I know they’re going to be ready to go,” Diggs said. “A-Rod (quarterback Aaron Rodgers) is incredible – so much respect for him. Davante (Adams), Aaron Jones, all those guys, they’re phenomenal. Their defense has been rolling. So I have a lot of respect for those guys and I’ve had a lot of battles against those guys, and they’re really battle-tested.”

Traded to Seattle in late October, Diggs was slowed by a hamstring injury in November, and he missed the Seahawks’ last two regular-season games – defeats against Arizona and San Francisco – because of a high ankle sprain.

He was back Sunday, and the Seahawks improved to 5-1 with Diggs starting at free safety.

“Diggs, he was calling out plays before it was happening out there, just telling us, alerting us what was coming,” Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said. “And he made good open-field tackles and I was so glad he was out there. When he’s out there, you can just feel his presence.”

In a strange twist, Diggs made three trips to Philadelphia this season, and won all three: First, with Detroit in Week 3, and then both games with the Seahawks, and both of those by a score of 17-9.

“We played great tonight. It wasn’t just me coming back,” Diggs said Sunday. “We played as a collective effort. I just want to give these guys energy every week. That’s my job, to bring energy, bring confidence to these guys. That’s what I try to do each and every week.”

After four-plus seasons in Detroit, Diggs initially was stunned by the trade to the Seahawks.

“I think my teammates, first of all, have made me feel welcome since the day I walked into the building. I think it’s dope the way we hang with each other, we bond with each other,” he said. “I like to say, nobody’s safe in our room. We all get joked on. The coaches … they brought me in to make plays and just be positive for this team, and I’m just trying to repay those guys.”

The culture – the “vibe” – around this team, he said, is unique.

“It’s special. It’s special. I tell a lot of young guys that. Everywhere is not like this,” Diggs said. “Just soak it in, enjoy these moments. When it’s done and you have to go somewhere else, you’ll realize it.”

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