Week 1 Preview: Strength Versus Strength as Packers Open Season Against Seahawks
5 interesting facts to think about during the game
1. The Seahawks haven’t beaten the Packers in Lambeau Field since November 1999, including two postseason games. While CenturyLink Field in Seattle has been a house of horrors for Green Bay, the Packers have done their part to make Wisconsin an uncomfortable home.
2. Think the Packers usually start the season slow? Think again. Since Mike McCarthy was hired in 2006, the Packers have seven wins in the opening week of the regular season. That’s tied for the third most in the NFC and the sixth most in the NFL.
3. If you’re looking for a magic number on the scoreboard, it’s 25. The Packers are 11-0 all-time against Seattle when scoring 25-plus points.
4. Guard T.J. Lang, who left Green Bay to sign with the Detroit Lions this offseason, was recruited heavily by the Seahawks. After Lang’s visit with Seattle, he claimed he was “99% sure” he would sign with the Seahawks. The Lions ultimately offered more guaranteed money, swaying the 30-year-old Lang.
5. The Packers haven’t began their season at home in Lambeau Field since 2012. In that game, Cedric Benson was the team’s starting running back, Jermichael Finley caught a touchdown and A.J. Hawk had 14 tackles.
Who could be an X-factor in Sunday’s game?
Jon says Jahri Evans.
With the Legion of Boom era fading a bit, the true strength of the Seattle defense is its defensive line. The Packers will counter with more or less the same offensive line that more or less neutralized the Seahawks at Lambeau Field last year, with one notable exception: 34-year old Jahri Evans.
Evans is the least-known quantity on the Packers’ offensive line, and how well he meshes with Corey Linsley to his left and Bryan Bulaga to his right will go a long way towards determining the overall success of the Packers’ offense. If he (and the rest of the line) can handle what Seattle throws at them, one has to think the Packers will be able to do enough to score some points.
Gary says Kenny Clark.
It’s a good thing Russell Wilson is an athletic, scrambling quarterback. His offensive line has hovered around average or below-average during his five seasons in Seattle. Last year, the Seahawks may have had the worst offensive line of Wilson’s career. They tried to acquire guard T.J. Lang this offseason, but Lang wound up signing with Detroit.
Clark, beginning his second year on Sunday, has looked sharp during camp. Alongside star defensive lineman Mike Daniels, Clark has an opportunity to help the Packers control the line of scrimmage on defense.
What happened last time the Packers and Seahawks played?
Well, Davante Adams scored right away, then Russell Wilson threw about 19 interceptions, then Jeff Janis scored a rushing touchdown. The 38-10 final score didn’t even fully communicate how thoroughly the Packers dominated the game.
Before that game, Gary made a bold prediction on that week’s episode of Blue 58. He said if the Packers could defeat the Seahawks, Green Bay would make it to the Super Bowl. How’d that turn out, Gary? (Hey, in my defense… they did make it to the NFC Championship Game!)
Who will win Sunday’s Packers-Seahawks game?
Jon says the Packers win by four points.
As I mentioned on this week’s podcast, early season games are extremely hard to predict. We just don’t know that much about these teams yet. Trying to suss out a team’s identity from fractured preseason performances is a fool’s errand, so all we can really do is wait and see what happens and try to make informed decisions from there.
On paper, the Packers and Seahawks are going strength versus strength this week. Aaron Rodgers is the fusion reactor at the heart of the giant monster crushing robot that is the Packers offense. The Seahawks counter with a ferocious defensive line custom designed to wreck opposing quarterbacks.
Playing at home with Martellus Bennett added to an offense that moved the ball effectively against the Seahawks a year ago, I think the Packers prevail, 28-24.
Gary says the Packers win by a touchdown.
Outside of the postseason, there’s no more nerve wracking week than the first week of the regular season. Now that most starters sit out for large parts of the preseason, each NFL team is a giant question mark. Heading into last season, the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets had the same odds to make it to the Super Bowl. It’ll take a few weeks to figure out who’s good and who’s not.
Since the Packers and Seahawks rivalry began in earnest on Monday Night Football in 2012, neither team has been able to win on the road. It’s likely that streak continues on Sunday, but it won’t be a walk in the park like it was late last year. Nine of the 11 season openers under McCarthy have been decided by eight points or less.