Fri, Sep 5, 5:45am by Daryl Curnow
THE wait is finally over as the Seattle Seahawks kick off their campaign to win back-to-back Superbowls against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
After a long off-season and four strenuous weeks of preseason football, its good to have the real thing back and what a cracker of a game to kick off with. Seattle are looking to complete a rare feat by winning in concecutive years and the Packers are simply looking to make a deeper playoff run on the back of their great quarterback.
Green Bay will be eager to overturn a controversial loss the last time they visited CenturyLink Field. We’re speaking of the now infamous ‘Golden Tate catch’ where he clearly dropped it, but because the NFL referees were not in full use, the reserves had to make all the tough calls. Nevertheless, winning in Seattle this time around will be much harder for the Packers as we witnessed last season.
The 12th man has made it awfully hard for incoming teams to settle in Seattle and we expect the crowd noise to be at maximum levels again this season. The 12th man is of course the Seattle Seahawks fans who regularly created noise records at the stadium, making it very hard for the opposition players to hear each other.
AustralianGambling will look at the points spread market for this match and the head-to-head options don’t offer any value in this match.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.0) – $1.92 at Sportsbet.com.au
Green Bay Packers (+6.0) – $1.92
Even though it is only preseason form and the full team rarely plays together at the same time, we still feel that it’s a good guide to the first game of the season. The Seahawks went 2-2 during the four weeks, winning two at home and losing the other two on the road. Seattle rarely lose at home and that was confirmed by their preseason results and of course their efforts at CenturyLink Field last year.
They won 34-6 in their third preseason game against the Chicago Bears where Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns. It was the young QB’s most complete preseason game and it showed his readiness for this season. He completed 15-20 passes as the Seahawks put on a clinic in front of their home fans. They also took on the San Diego Chargers at home where they cruised to victory 41-14. Wilson was given a lighter workload, throwing 121 yards and completing 11 of 13 passes. It’s fair to say the Green Bay Packers will be up against it in this game.
The Packers had a fantastic preseason of their own however, going 3-1 and winning both at home. The Packers and their cheesehead fans were last treated to an easy 34-14 rout of the much fancied Kansas City Chiefs. What made that victory more impressive is that their quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat out most of the game and let the reserves pick apart the Chiefs defense. Rodgers played in their win against the Raiders in week three where he threw for 139 yards but completing only 9 from 20. That did include two touchdowns however so there is nothing wrong with his red zone accuracy.
The head-to-head history can be a little misleading as results are taken from teams that have no influence on the current roster, but in sports we know that an advantage in this matchup can often hold up in the thick of all the stats.
Green Bay hold a 6-2 advantage since 2001 and had Golden Tate not scored in their last game in 2012, then the Packers would be going for five straight against the Seahawks. Green Bay’s biggest win came in 2009 where they won 48-10 at home, but we all know this Seattle team has reformed and become much, much stronger!
Aaron Rodgers is a quarterback’s quarterback. By this we mean that if you were to mold a quarterback based on a set of skills, it would be Aaron Rodgers’. The leader of the Packers, Rodgers has an incredible throwing arm and nous for getting out of sticky situations. His offensive line isn’t the best and that forces Rodgers to come up with some incredible throws, usually into a small window in traffic, but he makes the most of it. Touted as the best arm in the NFL, Rodgers’ throwing numbers speak for themselves as he completed at a 66% rate last year with 2536 yards and 17 touchdowns even though he missed many games with a shoulder injury.
Now we will look at the rushing leaders for both teams, more commonly known as the running backs. Most fans will immediately say that Marshawn Lynch is the best running back in the league and they might well be right, but the skittle-loving Lynch doesn’t hold much of an advantage over Packers running back, Eddie Lacy.
Lacy had 284 carries last season for 1178 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 4.1 yards per run and that’s more than handy to use on first and second downs. Last seasons NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Lacy is proving to be a key player in the Packers offense and his 11 touchdowns last year ranked him third in the league.
Marshawn Lynch was somewhat enigmatic last season but when he wanted to make yards, he would. “Beast-mode” is what many will be asking for this season as he has a tendency to look and play disinterested throughout a large majority of the game. That being said, he is a class player and he is extremely valuable to have on third down when they need 1-2 yards. His big body and low centre of gravity makes him tough to stop close to the line and he will no doubt put up big numbers again this season.
Defensively, the Packers don’t rank well. They let in 372 yards a game compared to the Seahawks 274 with the majority difference coming in the passing ranks. Green Bay aren’t as bad at conceding rushing yards and but Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’ it is going to be tough to make yards on the ground and in the air.
The Packers have lost five players due to injury for this game. Letroy Guion is supposively starting for injured nose tackle B.J Raji but he is also questionable and they could have problems on the defensive side.
Linebacker Brad Jones is also questionable after suffering a quadricep injury in practice. Cornerback Demetri Goodson is questionable after suffering a concussion, he did not practice this week and Brandon Bostick, the effective tight end is confirmed out after he injured his fibula.
For Seattle, running back Christine Michael is out of today’s game and he is the only confirmed non-starer for Seattle. Linebacker Bruce Irwin, Wide receiver Kevin Norwood and tight end Cooper Helfet are all overcoming injuries but are expected to play.
It would be a massive shock to see the Seattle Seahawks lose their home opener against the Green Bay Packers. The defending champions will be eager to pick up where they left off and the 12th man makes it awfully hard for visiting teams to not only hear, but also concentrate. The stadium will be buzzing and we’re predicting a hard-fought, but comfortable victory to the Seahawks.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Packers 13
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