Regular season football kicks off tonight, in what looks to be a very exciting matchup. The Green Bay Packers go on the road to face the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. This matchup is a very interesting one right away as the Seahawks elite defense should be tested by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers potent offense. One thing that’s great in the NFL is that every game means something. With both of these teams looking to be serious playoff contenders, a win here could be the difference down the road in terms of seeding.
For a team that likes to throw the ball, a trip to Seattle is a rough way to start the season. Granted, Rodgers is more than capable of getting it done, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Eddie Lacy is used heavily early on to set up the pass. Lacy gives the Packers a running threat teams have to game plan for. He’s a physical runner with deceptive speed and can even catch out of the backfield. Considering the Seahawks stick their corners on one side of the field, the Packers will need to be creative to find favorable matchups for their receivers on the outside.
One player who I feel the Packers will fully utilize this game is Randall Cobb. While the Seahawks big and physical corners are a tough matchup for almost everyone, they have had struggles against shorter, shiftier receivers (see T.Y. Hilton last year). Cobb fits that mold and with his ability to create after the catch, Rodgers will just have to give him the ball in space. A reason for concern on offense for the Packers is that they will be starting a rookie in Corey Linsley at center. While Linsley could end up being very serviceable, a matchup against a very good defensive line in a hostile environment isn’t the best way to start your career. The communication between Rodgers and Linsley is something that will be closely monitored throughout the game.
The Seahawks offense should be more of what it was last year. A physical rushing attack paired up with a very efficient passing game. Despite losing Golden Tate in the offseason, the Seahawks offense should be even more explosive in 2014. This is due to the presence of a healthy Percy Harvin (for the time being of course). Harvin when healthy is one of if not the most versatile weapon in the entire league. He can beat you as a receiver, running on trick plays or in the return game. Look for Russell Wilson to get him involved early and often in this one.While the Packers put an emphasis on improving their defense in the offseason, they still have problems up front due to factors such as BJ Raji’s season ending injury. Marshawn Lynch is essentially a lock to get 20 plus carries and with his physical running style, it could be a long night for the Packers defensive line.
Overall, this game has the potential to be a very exciting one. Despite the Seahawks swarming secondary, Rodgers has the ability at times to look borderline unstoppable and you never know when that will happen. Even though I like the Packers as a whole this year, this game was probably the worst way they could open a season. Beating the Seahawks with all their talent is a daunting task as it is, let alone on the road in their building their first game after winning the Super Bowl.
My prediction is Packers 23 Seahawks (-6.5) 28