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Nelson: Facing Seahawks "Almost a Division Game" for the Packers

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Nelson: Facing Seahawks "Almost a Division Game" for the Packers

Entering week one of the 2017 regular season, the Packers offense could certainly use all of the help they can get, especially from their wide receivers.

No team in the NFL is the same team in week 17 as they are in week one, however, the Packers can hope to avoid the slow start that has notoriously plagued them in recent seasons. They started each season from 2012 to 2014 with a 1-2 record before switching things up and starting 3-0 in 2015 and 2-1 in 2016.

It's not December, it's not the playoffs and this isn't the same Seahawks team the Packers clubbed in week 14 of last season, 38-10.

In a game that quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed over 78 percent of his passes and threw for three touchdowns, including a 66-yard touchdown to Davante Adams on the Packers' first offensive possession, the Packers could hope to enter the game with a little carried-over confidence, even despite the daunting Seattle defense's improvements.

Receiver Jordy Nelson caught six passes in the game, tallying two touchdowns in the process. He'll be there this Sunday, anxious to put a full offseason and preseason's worth of healthy work for the first time since 2014 into motion.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson runs off the field after a win against the Seahawks. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

It's also the third time he's met with the Seahawks since 2014 [including playoffs], one game behind his teammates due to Nelson missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. Still, three meetings in a three-year span would leave many to believe the Seahawks have ultimately replaced the outer-division rivalry the Packers had with the San Francisco 49ers in the early 2010s.

"You do learn game after game, it's almost become a division game just because of how often we play them," Nelson said. "You get more comfortable going against them, you understand what worked, what didn't work. Obviously, they're doing the same thing."

In last year's game, the Seahawks were playing without Earl Thomas, one of the top safeties in the league. It's a big reason why their defensive unit appeared out of sorts at times and out-matched in various facets.

He'll also be there this Sunday, anxious to prove that at 28 years old rebounding from a broken leg suffered late last season, he's still one of the best and most feared at his position.

There's no better way to make noise than to have your biggest game against a Rodgers-led offense.

"It's a big difference [having Thomas there], he's a great player. He's smart in the way he can read things, the ground he can cover makes a big difference for what they do on the back end. We'll be prepared for that."

Nelson has played in five career regular season games against the Seahawks, and the only two touchdowns he's scored against them since their first meeting in 2009 both came last year.

Adams, on the other hand, is already gearing up for his fourth meeting with the Seahawks in a short, four-year career.

Nelson's wide receiver colleague is currently averaging 15.22 yards per reception against the Seahawks thanks to his nine catches for 137 yards in three career games. 

Adams was the Packers' leading receiver in the 2016 matchup. His four catches for 104 yards and the early touchdown helped him finish with a 17.33 yards per reception average. He'll also be hoping to take the top off the defense and provide other options underneath in Nelson or Randall Cobb.

A lot of the game is about scheming to isolate an opponent's biggest strength, and the Packers may very well be able to do that with two deep threats in Nelson and Adams.

Wide receiver Davante Adams celebrates a first down against the Seahawks. [Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

"They're active," Adams said after Wednesday's practice, essentially echoing Nelson's earlier comments. "They got a lot of guys flying around all over the place at full speed. They play with such a high urgency, it's kind of difficult to match out there but I think you get used to it with that kind of familiar opponent at this point.

"We just have to match that and exceed it like we've done in the past. We just have to continue to be consistent."

At the end of the day, all that matters is what the final scoreboard says. However, it'd be asinine to conclude that the Packers haven't had the Seahawks' number as of late. The 2-3 record against Seattle [both regular season and playoffs] since 2012 doesn't do the Packers justice.

One of those three losses was the 36-16 dismantling in the 2014 regular season opener. The second was the 2015 NFC Championship in which the Packers surrendered a 19-7 lead in the final five minutes of the game, obliterating their Super Bowl dreams. The third was the "Fail Mary" game in week three of the 2012 season. Former Packers safety M.D. Jennings came down with an interception over current Lions receiver Golden Tate in the end zone after a Hail Mary attempt from then-rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in the final seconds.

Outside of those three games, the Packers' two victories against the Seahawks have both been double-digit wins.

In fact, every win against the Seahawks since the 2008 playoffs have been by double-digits.

Whether or not they'll come away with a third on Sunday remains to be seen, but Adams will be one of the biggest x-factors for the offense if they plan on opening the season with a statement win.

"You watch the film and it's pretty much the same people out there, you might give or take a couple people there. But it's the same thing we see every year, they're going to stick to what they do because they do it really well.

"Since I've gotten here, it's the same thing. It's pretty much them saying 'we're going to stick to what we do and we're going to do it better than you.' Obviously, we've shown in the past that we match up well against them and it'll be a shootout. It'll be fun."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Handsback's picture

This should be the game of the week for the NFL. I think Green Bay wins, but not like last year.
I'm thinking a score like 24-21.

flackcatcher's picture

Yup. Two healthy teams able to play to their strengths. It's a pick em game in the packers house. Should be close, packers win.

croatpackfan's picture

No way that Seattle score 3 TD. No way! Their OL is so terrible that I do not see more than 15 points for them. Anyway, I say something like 24-13.

RCPackerFan's picture

This should be a tough fought game.

Most of the talk will be centered around Rodgers vs Wilson. And around how great Seattle's Defense is.

This game will likely be won and lost in the trenches. These games almost always are.

I personally like the Packers trenches better overall. Seatlle has a great DL. Probably the best in football. But the Packers have one of the best OL's in football. Also Packers DL is flying under the radar and Seattle's OL is one of the worst in the league.

While I don't think Wilson will throw 5 interceptions like last year, I do think the Packers can get to him and cause him to make a few mistakes. The biggest thing is if they can capitalize on them.

I think the game will be close, but in the end I think the Packers will pull it out.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

19-16, Green Bay.

I expect lots of field goals in this one, as both offensive lines will be overmatched. It's tough to sustain and finish drives in conditions like that.

Special Teams--especially the punters--could loom large as well. Welcome to center stage, Vogel. Pin 'em back.

dobber's picture

I think the key will be field position. If the Packers find themselves consistently starting deep in their own territory, it will be a hard hill to climb. Hopefully Vogel will be able to flip the field for the Packers.

Must match the intensity of Seattle. Their defense is always flying...and talking. If the Packers can get an early lead, I think this one goes their way.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Do you think Ted's emphasis on improving team speed will show in better punt and kick coverage?

I'm thinking having a punter with a little stronger leg, combined with faster coverage units, could push Seattle back an extra 5 yards from recent years.

But maybe that's asking too much.

As for our punt returns, I won't bother hoping for any competent blocking to unleash Davis.

dobber's picture

Hoping a stronger leg--and if he can get some consistent hang time--will make a difference.

As for Davis? Just...catch...the...damn...ball.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Agreed. Just catch it, Trevor. You'll be snowed under the moment the ball hits your hands, thanks to our wretched blocking.

Sorry for the frustration, but I can't remember the last year when our punt/kick return units could block at all. What a waste of this kid's talent.

MarkinMadison's picture

I would be lying if I said I was not a bit nervous about the Packers D right now. Brooks and Dial need to get acclimated. King is a work in progress. House missed most of the pre-season. I think it all comes down to the Packers' D. Are they ready to play on Sunday or not?

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Good point.

How many miscommunicatios will we see between House and the slot/safeties? What kind of rotation will keep our vaunted front 3 fresh up front? Dial's so new; maybe Jean Francois will play big? Is Brooks ready for a regular workload? Will Jones be unleashed in multiple blitz packages? (Please say yes, Dom)

So many new faces. Well, at least that makes scouting hard on Seattle--but in a tight game, we can't afford many breakdowns in communication.

croatpackfan's picture

That is interesting remark. So, Seattle signed Richardson few days ago and he will be huge improvement for their DL, but Packers signed few players who will not be able to help because they are not long enough with team... Oh, my God! I really enjoying in reading comments and articles here. I laugh a lot lately...

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

You know, before mocking Mark, keep in mind:

1. He never said Seattle wouldn't see some growing pains with Richardson.

2. Defensive line requires fewer reads and less spacing/chemistry to be developed for multiple applications, such as run D, pass D, blitz, etc.

3. Green Bay has seen a larger influx of new key defenders than Seattle.

Next time, let people comment a little before showing so many fangs, 'kay? Sheesh, it's only Week 1.

Tundraboy's picture

Simple explanation. We are worry warts. Can you blame us after some of the amazing bad breaks over the last 6 years. What works for other teams often eludes us. We sometimes have to hope for the best ,but fear the worst. After the fail Mary game and 2014,I will always have that in the back of my mind until the day our D rises up and stomps some of our rivals in the playoffs.

Believe this could be the year,but.....

Steve Cheez's picture

I always enjoy your attitude, CPF

Finwiz's picture

I have a real fear of Doug Baldwin going off on us due to House's rustiness, and Kings inexperience. This is going to be a nail biter given their defense is as good as the Packer offense, relatively speaking. I hate games like this to start the season because you can never relax and enjoy it.

Bearmeat's picture

I don't care what defense you think you have - the ONLY way you're going to keep GBs current offense under 30 is to get to ARod in under 3 seconds consistently. That means Seattle had better hope that a starting OL member goes down.

On the other side, yeah, Seattle will score some points due to miscommunication on D and Russ doing Russ things. But with their own trash OL to worry about, I think GB pulls out a close but not scary finish.

GB 30
SEA 24

Bearmeat's picture

<p>PS: Al - what&#39;s with the new comment system? I keep getting weird paragraph signs and punctuation errors.... can anyone else corroborate?</p>

Jersey Al's picture

<p>If you prefer the old one, click on &quot;switch to plain text editor&quot; below the white box.</p>

Finwiz's picture

I'm not sure you can say that early in the season Bear. Couple the limited preseason reps, and going against a top tier D with Earl Thomas back spells "slow start" to me. We'll see soon enough, but I expect this will be a struggle as always, unless I'm terribly wrong.

snowdog's picture

" I hate games like this to start the season because you can never relax and enjoy it. "

Yup . . . Isn't Great ! ! !

snowdog's picture

Edit : My comment should have read " Yup .. ... Isn't IT great ! ! !

Sorry . I can hear the clicks from here

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Last season the Packers had good performances from Randall and Rollins. This time they are going to need the secondary to step up again. Wilson has a lot of targets and the Packers DBs are going to need to cover to the whistle.

I am taking the Packers in this one because I think the Packers OLine will be the difference.

Denise Chanterelle's picture

After this Sunday it does not get any easier with a trip to Atlanta up next. Packers need this home win. It would be great to surprise Seattle with a solid run game, to take pressure off AR. Go Pack!

Since &#039;61's picture

Seattle has gotten off to slow starts, at least for them, in 2015 and 2016, especially their offense. Hopefully, that will happen again and they are playing on the road which may be a contributing factor.
I think that the Packers have a few advantages in this game.
1. We're playing at home
2. Our offense has a few new looks with our TEs and RBs.
3. Our defense will have a new look and more speed
4. We have Aaron Rodgers

Seattle is a good team but there are no excuses for the Packers, no injuries, more speed, playing at home, it's all right in front of them. Even though it's only the first game of the season this game could be a tie breaker for home field come January. Go Pack Go!

Thanks, Since '61

Lphill's picture

Packers 27 Seahawks 17 , I don't get the hype about the Seahawks , Packers win easy at home set the tone for the season.

GVPacker's picture

Packers 31 Sea chickens 17 Two Picks for Ha Ha!

A Pickled Packer's picture

It will be interesting to see how the OL performs against this front 4. They say this defensive line is the best in football. Should they keep the QB clean and can establish a running game it bodes well for the remainder of the season.

Steve Cheez's picture

I say Seattle gets a late FG to make it 56-3

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