It’s finally here. Time for our first preview of the regular season – Week 1 at home against the Seahawks! Let’s dive into the issues that can change the game.
The New Guys on Offense
With late news that Bulaga won’t play, our money is on Murphy to get the start. Whether it’s him or Spriggs, they will be next to Evans, who plays next to Linsley, which means zero chemistry on the entire right side of the line. I don’t doubt the talent of any of these guys, but familiarity is a big bonus. Rodgers is great at avoiding the rush, but it’s hard not to see him taking a few sacks this game and being uncomfortable while rolling out.
The New Guys on Defense
Very late in the offseason, the Packers continued their uncharacteristic offseason by signing linebacker Ahmad Brooks and defensive lineman Quinton Dial. Aside from adding veteran depth at key positions of need and bringing a nastier attitude, they both come from the 49ers, who play in the NFC West, who play the Seahawks twice a year. That familiarity could pay dividends on Sunday.
Eddie Lacy may not be on the top of the Seahawks depth chart (he may even be at the bottom), but that doesn’t mean he won’t get a lot of action. It’s Week 1 and the power back is healthy. Pete Carroll is the kind of d!ckhead coach who would throw away the depth chart if it meant he could stick it to someone. That someone is the Packers. I hope the Packers beastly defensive line shows up and forces contact in the backfield, because I don’t see Jake, Blake, or Joe T taking on Lacy with a full head of steam and giving up any less than three yards after contact.
Social Justice Warriors
The Michael Bennett situation is unfortunate from every angle. However, he still has a job to do. This could be a distraction for him and his team (as well as his brother), but it could also be a catalyst for a dominant game. Pent up anger has a way of exploding on the field for defensive linemen. It will be interesting to see how it affects him, but I’m expecting nothing short of his high standard of production.
The Seahawks just acquired Sheldon Richardson for a song, relative to his talent. The guy is a beast on the field but he’s a head case. I wish he would have went anywhere but Seattle because the Seahawks seem to build a dominant defense on highly talented #ssholes… I wish we would have got him. He just joined the team this week, so it will be interesting to see how much he plays. I actually have a bad feeling that this defense injures TyMo.
I have long believed that the sissification of the offseason and reduced contact is to blame (at least in part) for the increase in player injuries. The human body needs offseason contact to get ready for regular season contact. Whining greedy players and posturing greedy owners (and, most importantly, all their lawyers) have constructed a CBA which robs players of this valuable need (exception being quarterbacks, who as so protected now that it doesn’t matter and isn’t worth the risk). For example, the Chiefs limited injury prone star safety Eric Berry to zero snaps in the preseason… how’d that work out? A key injury in Week 1 can be a game changer or, in the case of the 2016 Packers, a season-changer.
Chess Match Time
Don’t forget: Dom Capers straight up owns Russell Wilson.
Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game, but a new line will be facing a top D at the wrong time. At home, the Packers will have energy, which usually bodes well. The Seahawks have a great defense, but Rodgers has new toys and will pick apart the underneath and middle throwing to backs and tight ends, dumping it off in the face of pressure from the right side until he’s good and ready to attack with his receivers. Marty gets a red zone score and Randall Cobb should make plays against rookie Shaquill Griffin. Special teams has a lot of new pieces and there will probably be a setback somewhere along the way, but it won’t be insurmountable. The Packers defense will bend but not break with their safeties playing tight ends surprisingly tough. Clay Matthews starts the season hot and Mike Daniels spends most of the day three yards into the Seahawks backfield. It would be a lot easier with Bulaga, but they gut it out in the end.
Packers 24, Seahawks 20.