Packers vs. Seahawks Preview

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Updated: September 4, 2014

 

The NFL season starts with a bang tonight, as two teams that could eventually face off other in the NFC Championship game will get to work in the season opener at CenturyLink Field.  Aaron Rogers and the revamped Green Bay Packers are tasked with dethroning the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, and here are a few of the storylines to be aware of:

Current Line:  Seattle -6, over/under 46.5

Green Bay’s D:  The Packers defense ranked 25th in the NFL last year, routinely getting pushed off the ball in the run game and dealing with injuries and inconsistency in its secondary.  Primarily due to their recent ineptitude on defense, Green Bay is 0-5 since the start of the 2012 season against the big boys of the NFC West, Seattle and San Francisco.  They are hoping to buck this trend by the installation of younger bodies up front to increase depth and with the signing of Julius Peppers to serve as a legitimate pass-rusher to complement Clay Matthews.  Trying to contain Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in the opener should be a good test right of the rip.

No place like home:  Seattle is difficult to play against regardless of the venue, but they are an entirely different animal in front of their raucous fans.  Case in point, the Seahawks have won 17 of their last 18 home games and will be looking to win its fifth straight Week 1 home opener.  The noise and atmosphere of CenturyLink seems to give the formidable defense of Seattle even more of an edge, an edge that Richard Sherman and his defensive teammates exploited in route to allowing the lowest total years per game in the NFL last season.

Healthy Harvin:  With a Percy Harvin starting the season in one piece, Seattle will have at its disposal one of the more dynamic talents in the league.  Wilson will be able to throw it to Harvin deep, over the middle, or even out of the backfield, options that weren’t readily available to him a year ago.  Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers will surely have to have some of his defenders tilted to Harvin’s whereabouts at all times.

Strength against strength:  Rogers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, utilizing his powerful right arm to dissect his opponents.  Green Bay relies heavily on Rogers and the passing game, which unfortunately plays right into the hands of the Seahawks defense.  Seattle had the best passing defense in the league in 2013, allowing a paltry 172 passing yards per game.  Something has to give here, and it will be interesting to see if Rogers can pick his spots, avoid turnovers, and find a few openings against an extremely fast and physical secondary.

Trends:  Green Bay has struggled in the role of road underdog lately, going 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games when facing this scenario.  Also, since 2012 they are 2-4-1 ATS against NFC West squads.  Seattle is a beast at home, tallying impressive records of 17-1 SU and 13-5 ATS over their last 18 games.

Prediction:  As noted above, Seattle is virtually impossible to beat SU at home these days.  However, I think Aaron Rogers is good enough to at least keep this game competitive.  Green Bay’s roster typically gets beat up as the season progresses, but outside of losing JC Tretter and B.J. Raji, they are in good health to start the year.  And in Eddie Lacy, the Packers seem to finally have a suitable running back capable of keeping Seattle’s aggressive pass-rushers a little honest.  Seattle wins 28-24, but Green Bay covers.

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