Game day is nearly here, and after an impressive rally by the Kansas City Chiefs over the New England Patriots in Foxborough on opening night…I’m giddy. After 596 days, the wait is finally over. We get to see Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers lace ’em up in Lambeau against a team that has turned into quite the out of division rivalry: The Seattle Seahawks. They will be lead out by QB Russell Wilson, heading into his 6th professional season. This will be a great game to watch, it’s one of the most intriguing games on tap for opening the weekend of the NFL season. This game may also be a sneak peak at teams that may very likely meet again come playoff time.
There are a few story lines to pay attention to in this one, first and foremost: The return of Eddie Lacy. Lacy spent his first four seasons with the Packers, but after very promising rookie and sophomore seasons (in which Lacy amassed 2,317 yards and 20 touchdowns, missing just one game) Lacy struggled to remain on the field, struggled with his weight and lacked the consistency and force he had once showed, (From 2015-2016 his production dropped off, totaling just 1,118 yards and 3 touchdowns all while missing 12 of the teams 32 regular season games). With the drastic dropoff, and uncertainty about Lacy’s ability to keep himself on the field due to weight issues, the Packers decided it was best to part ways and move forward with RB Ty Montgomery. While Lacy is not expected to be the bell-cow in Seattle, he is expected to have a share of the workload to start the season, splitting carries with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. But on Opening day, back in a place that is so familiar to him…which Eddie Lacy will show up? That is something I will be paying close attention to.
Another story line follows a pair of brothers, brothers on opposite sides of this battle, the always entertaining and outspoken Bennett Brothers. While Michael Bennett has gone his rounds with the Packers over the years his brother, Martellus Bennett, is new to this rivalry, and it is sure to add another level. I expect both Bennett brothers will make their mark on this one. For Martellus, the new weapon showed his ability to make plays and garnered favor with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, I say with confidence…Martellus will find the endzone week 1. For Michael, he has been a defensive force in past matchups with the Pack, Bennett is a tough guy to stop regardless of who you throw at him, but the Seahawks recent acquisition of DT Sheldon Richardson may make Bennett unstoppable. The Seahawks now have not only one of the top secondaries, a linebacker core that includes ILB Bobby Wagner, but they now have a defensive line that features: DE Michael Bennett, DE Cliff Avril, DT Jarran Reed, DT Sheldon Richardson, and DE Frank Clark. That lineup will send chills down the spines of QB’s and OC’s all season long. I do think on more than one occasion we should see the Bennett brothers line up across from eachother, this should be fun!
In my Green Bay Packers Season Preview I predicted Green Bay to start the season off on the right foot, and pick up the W in this one. While the acquisition of Richardson will make Seattle’s defense even more of a juggernaut then they already were, I still have questions about Seattle’s ability to protect their most important asset, Russell Wilson (who was sacked 41 times last season, T-2nd in NFL.) Green Bay has also added to their defensive unit. Both up front, and in the secondary that desperately needed the infusion of youth (rookies: CB Kevin King, and S Josh Jones) and experience (CB Davon House) to go along with last years starters CB LaDarius Gunter along with CB Demarious Randall. Randall in a recent interview made it clear that the defense of the Packers is looking to make great strides this year after constantly being brought up as a reason Rodgers hasn’t been able to add another Lombardi Trophy to his legacy thus far. Randall responded “Just because we got a powerful offense, that don’t mean we should have to use them all the time.” He also stated “this team will go as far as the corners and safeties will take us. Aaron is going to be Aaron. He’s an 11- or 12-year vet.
We know what we’re going to get from the offense.” and as for the offense they still have Rodgers, who time after time seems to find ways to avoid pressure, slip the pocket, and make big plays downfield, you know it, I know it, Seattle knows it…But can they stop it? I don’t think so, expect that trend to continue Sunday. While my projected outcome was made prior to the moves made by Seattle, they won’t shake me from my original prediction: Packers Win 31-21 in what should be a very entertaining game.
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and as always, #GoPackGo.