Packers Periscope: Week 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks

Another NFL season kicks off and, like clockwork, it's another game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. 

Another NFL season kicks off and, like clockwork, it's another game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.  This marks the fourth season in a row that the teams have met in the regular season and the fifth time in the last six years.  With such a recent history in this series, let's take a look at what has been, what is and what could become of this game and rivalry.

The Past

I've heard the word rivalry used to describe what the Packers and Seahawks currently have.  There are so many definitions of "rivalry" that if you ask 10 different fans, you'll likely get 10 unique answers.  If that definition is "several meaningful games over a recent span of time", this game is the next installment of said rivalry.

These teams have only met 20 total times, dating back to 1976.  Green Bay leads the series with a 12-8 record, including three playoff games.  The Packers have won the last two meetings which took place in 2015 and 2016.  Both were at Lambeau Field with the last being a 38-10 rout late last season.  It was Seattle's first loss by more than 10 points since 2011 which means it was also quarterback Russell Wilson's worst loss in a Seahawks uniform.

Wilson fell out of favor with many Packers fans, who had previously lauded the former Wisconsin Badger, with his comments following the 2014 NFC championship game that alluded to God wanting his team to win.  That statement was not lost on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who returned the favor after his team's week two win over Seattle in 2015, stating that it seemed that God wanted the other team to prevail that time.

The Packers nearly avenged a loss in the 2014 opener and solved CenturyLink Field, a venue that has become one of the toughest in the league for road teams.  Never mind what would have also come after closing out that game.  Although the Packers haven't returned to the scene of the crime, the last two wins over this nemesis were no less satisfying.

The current state of this series began on a fateful Monday night in 2012 in Seattle.  Wilson was in just his third game as a pro after beating out former Packers quarterback Matt Flynn for the starting job.  Replacement officials were on the field, as the regulars were on strike.  Seattle's defense sacked Rodgers what seemed like a million times in the first half alone and kept their team in the game as the offense put putted along.  

The Packers led with time for one more offensive heave-ho from Wilson.  The ball came down in the end zone and fell into the hands of Packers safety M.D. Jennings, which by any interpretation of the rules, was an interception.  Game over.  The play was ruled a touchdown by the official, who will get no naming credit from this writer.  Seattle receiver Golden Tate had an arm in the melee for the ball and the official essentially ruled "tie goes to the offense".  Game truly over, Packers deal with it. 

The 2012 season went on its way and both the Packers and Seahawks were eliminated from the postseason.  How and by who might have changed had the right call been made.  

But on we move.

The Present

Both rosters have changed quite a bit since the last meeting in December. 

Running back Eddie Lacy switched jerseys and returns to Lambeau Field looking to silence his former fans and critics who chided him over his weight issues.  Lacy is a far cry from prime Marshawn Lynch, but represents a return to the bruising run style that Seattle has favored in the past.  Much as the Packers did, the Seahawks will try to build a lead and use Lacy to wear down the defense and close it out late.

Seattle added stud defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson via trade this past week, giving their front a huge boost (pun intended).  The only way this scenario favors the Packers is Richardson's lack of familiarity with Seattle's scheme and chemistry with his teammates.  Rest assured, the big guy will see the field plenty in this game.  A player of his caliber can still make bad things happen for his opponent regardless of the scenario.

The Packers have done a complete 180 on their approach to talent acquisition this year and brought in seven free agents who have spent time on other NFL rosters.  That's the most during General Manager Ted Thompson's 13 seasons with the team.  Over the past two seasons, a lack of depth and experience has spelled demise for Green Bay in the postseason and this effort seems to show that they're looking to get over the hump.

That means an appearance at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis in February (Vikings fans everywhere are still cringing at the thought).  The Seahawks, five years later, are still one of the barometers for teams contending in the NFC as are the Packers.  In most preseason rankings lists, these two teams are right next to each other in the top three.  To get this match up right out of the gate is a treat for all football fans.

The Future

While it's only the first game of the season and there is ample time to make up for a loss, this is already a critical game on Green Bay's schedule.  A head-to-head win gives an immediate tie-breaker for seeding in the postseason.  It could prove to be the difference between hosting the NFC championship game at Lambeau Field (something Rodgers has agonized over never having done) or re-visiting "the Link".

Rodgers and Co have only lost one season opener at home and have had some tough games in the past.  The Lambeau crowd will be anxious for football and hasn't forgotten past misdeeds involving the Seattle and their gum-chomping, hand-clapping Head Coach Pete Carroll.  There will be noise but hey, the Seahawks should be used to that, right?

Seattle boasts one of the best defenses in the league, on paper.  The Packers have one of the best offenses, period (Yes, Aaron Rodgers makes that last statement true).  So which one gives first?  Assuming neither side experiences a big injury that impacts the outcome, I'm leaning towards Seattle blinking first.

On offense, the Packers are extremely dynamic.  The Seahawks now have a very potent front and the best secondary in the league.  Safety Earl Thomas is back (he missed the December game last year) and despite being another year older, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are both still among the best at their position.  That said, Rodgers & Co rarely disappoint at home.  Seattle will spend more time dealing with 12 instead of having a 12(th) like they do at home.

Week one always features some odd games and results as teams knock off any final rust and start determining who they are.  I can't say I'd be surprised at any result in this game, including a lopsided Seahawks win.  I can say that I'll be extremely disappointed if the Packers don't win.  This one should be more entertaining than the last game and the good guys emerge 1-0 and ready to take on their next-biggest challenger on the road to Minneapolis.

 

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (29)

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Lphill's picture

September 08, 2017 at 06:13 am

Sheldon Richardson a player who gives up when his team does not do good , perfect personality for the Seahawks . A quitter .he can hang out at the Golden Corral buffet with Eddie Lacy .

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The TKstinator's picture

September 08, 2017 at 06:56 am

I love the way 12 throws shade, whether it be in reference to "off season practices" or "divine intervention" in the outcome of a game. Between 12 and 80 there ought to be some entertaining interviews this season.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 09, 2017 at 02:09 am

He had his spine
He had his purple crush

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porupack's picture

September 08, 2017 at 06:58 am

In addition to having repeated games on each others' schedule in a recent span of time, a good rivalry has to have a bit of bad blood, revenge or some element that is more than just a 'W' in the win column. The rival must also be a critical obstacle in the road to a championship. So, Seattle-GB has become a rivalry; plenty of past heartbreak at the hand of the other at big moments. And the notorious 'fail mary' to always avenge. Its a good one alright. Hope the game in reality is as good as the potential ''Game of the week"....so long as the packers win of course. A blowout would be ok too, I suppose.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 07:03 am

This should be a tough fought game.

While the Seahawks do have a really good defense and can match up with most teams. I'm not sure they will have a harder offense to try and cover like the Packers.

I love our offense. With good OL, they have one of the best WR corps in the league. Then this year they added 2 legit weapons as TE's, and they have one of the most versatile weapons at RB in the league. Montgomery is the xfactor in this game. He can do things to create mismatches all game.

And if that's not enough, the Offense has the best QB in the league.

Seattle's offense is more gidgety then anything. The last few times Capers has really figured it out. I'm sure we will see a few wrinkles added for the first game. But don't be surprised if Capers unveils a few new looks also.

This should be a good game and I can't wait to see it.

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2017 at 08:09 am

Seattle runs what I think of as a "college offense". Sure, they like to run the ball, but they play off that with a lot of throwbacks and odd plays that you just don't see other teams run very much. They rely on Wilson's athleticism to bail that offense out...which is why Darrell Bevell hasn't gotten a sniff at a HC gig, yet.

Packers have better speed on defense this year to handle that kind of stuff, but they have to be assignment-sure. This isn't the kind of offense I'd like to see GBs 'revamped' defense see in the first game, but Dial and Brooks know the Seahawks...probably better than the rest of the Packers do. Tough game. IMO, it will come down to field position and who turns the ball over.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:02 am

I completely agree. Don't get me wrong they do have good players. I just think its more based on scheme then the players.

The last few times the Packers have played Seattle, Capers has came up with a great plan in stopping them. While you can't take everything that happened last year into account for this year, they did shut them down. Held Wilson to 240 yards passing 1 TD and 5 interceptions.

This will be a tough game. You are correct too that field position and turnovers will play a huge role in this game. I think the game will be won in the trenches. And the weakest unit of the 4 units is Seattle's OL...

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Savage57's picture

September 08, 2017 at 07:07 am

Good way to start things off. Strength vs. strength.

I see Seattle having an advantage coming in, with their defense having less of a challenge ramping up to regular season synch than the Packers offense. We'll see as the game progresses whether or not those pre-season reps are meaningful or not.

My biggest hope is the zebras just let the game be decided by the players making plays, not turning it into a rules interpretation showcase.

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Finwiz's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:11 am

>I see Seattle having an advantage coming in, with their defense having less of a challenge ramping up to regular season synch than the Packers offense. We'll see as the game progresses whether or not those pre-season reps are meaningful or not.<

I agree with this completely, and it's my biggest fear. Lack of reps, and a defense able to "Queue up" much faster than an offense with limited reps in the preseason.

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NickPerry's picture

September 08, 2017 at 07:17 am

IMO the Packers 2 new toys at TE will play a huge role in this game. Not only with them catching the ball, but by them clearing out the middle underneath for guys like Cobb, Montgomery, and Nelson. I expect Montgomery to have a huge game with over 120 yards combined rushing and receiving. I understand Seattle has a great defense, but the Packers have potentially their best, most balanced offense under McCarthy. The Packers win 31-17 and it's not really that close.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 07:26 am

To go with what your saying I think Adams has a huge game. While Sherman is really good, their other CB's are not. I would take Adams over Lane every day. Also they have the rookie Griffin. While he may surprise he is a rookie and you know Rodgers will target him.

I agree with your take on the game.

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2017 at 08:08 am

Seattle is well-equipped in the middle of the field to handle the TEs. The question is, can they do it without leaving guys like Adams and Nelson one-on-one with a nickel back?

My fear is that the Seattle defense will be ahead of the Packer offense at this early stage.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:16 am

Very true.
I am assuming Sherman will follow Nelson every where. But that still leaves Adams, Cobb, Bennett, Kendricks, Montgomery all to cover.
Don't be surprised if we see some plays to Davis too. Seattle's D will be tough for sure.

That is my biggest fear. Usually the first few games Rodgers misses a few plays because of timing being off. That would be my biggest fear as well.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:17 am

Do not fear!

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dobber's picture

September 08, 2017 at 10:19 am

Beep! Beep!

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 01:26 pm

Sherman started following the other teams best players last year. I am assuming they will try to put him on Nelson when they can.

Cobb is the player to really watch in this game. He will likely see a lot of action against Griffin. With Bennett likely taking away players from the middle of the field he could have a lot of room to work underneath.

He has become the forgotten guy on offense right now. Don't be surprised if he has a good game.

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Finwiz's picture

September 08, 2017 at 01:41 pm

I can almost guarantee one of them will be standing on the side lines testing range of motion on one of their legs with a trainer within 10 plays.
It's guaranteed, like death and taxes. It's like these guys don't train in the off season, or have no tolerance for pain.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 09, 2017 at 04:35 pm

Is that a guarantee or an "almost guarantee"?
I remember one time I had to go to court and the verdict was "almost guilty".
Whew.

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Handsback's picture

September 08, 2017 at 08:29 am

The trenches usually determine a game's outcome. What you have is Green Bay's starting oline verses the Seahawks dline/LBs where both groups are in the top 5 (IMHO) of the league. Both sides will win some of their individual battles and as close to draw there as possible. The difference will be Kendrick/Bennett. Their blocking capability and a thin rank of DBs from Seattle will allow the Packers to score some points. The other side of the ball the Packer's dline has the edge. So unless the STs flop for Green Bay...I see a win by Green Bay.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:20 am

Completely agree..

In comparing the strengths vs weaknesses. Packers OL vs Seattle's DL/Front is probably a draw.
Packers DL/Front vs Seattles OL, I would give the edge to the Packers Front 7. Seattle's OL is not good, and I think Packers DL especially will be very good.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 08, 2017 at 08:53 am

I believe Mike McCarthy and his coaches will prepare game plan for mark in win column!

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Since&#039;61's picture

September 08, 2017 at 08:55 am

I'm expecting the Packers to be able to move the ball against Seattle. I'm hoping that they come out throwing. Seattle will be difficult to run against especially with the addition of Richardson. But we can spread the defense out and find the one-on-ones for Rodgers to target. This game should give us a good idea of how the Packers will use their new TEs and RBs. We can throw plenty of looks and formations at the Seachickens.

On defense the Packers need to stop the run. Seattle relies on play action and if we stop the run we can contain Wilson and the passing game.

Special Teams and field position will be a big factor in this game. Hopefully Vogel can flip the field in favor of the Packers. It will be difficult to make long scoring drives against Seattle's defense. Simultaneously we need to keep Seattle deep in their own end.

Build a lead, stop the run, pressure Wilson and win the field position battle. Unless the Packers beat themselves we should be able to take this team on our home field.
Thanks, Since '61

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:33 am

I agree with all this, except I don't see either team moving the ball consistently. I see fits and starts, taking advantage of early season mistakes on defense.

Honestly, I just think both Defensive fronts will overwhelm both offensive lines (Daniels-Clark-Lowry deserves more media love) There just seems to be a pretty big talent disparity between those units.

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Spock's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:11 am

"So which one gives first? Assuming neither side experiences a big injury that impacts the outcome, I'm leaning towards the home team." This statement implies that the home team will "give in" first. I believe that is the opposite of what the author intended. I always expect the Packers to win and I actually think they will do so pretty convincingly in this game.

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jasonperone's picture

September 08, 2017 at 11:44 am

You are correct, this has been updated and you are correct in that it indeed said the opposite of what I intended. Thanks for catching that! LL&P!

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 08, 2017 at 09:14 am

This game looks similar to last night's game.

Last night's game came down to physicality and communication, in that the Chiefs were more physical and the Pats had all sorts of miscommunication in their secondary.

While I'm picking our Packers to win 19-16, I'm concerned about House, Jones, and Brooks having so little time practicing and developing chemistry with their teammates--miscommunication could be an issue. I really like our defense in this game, but 4 or 5 blown coverages could leave us looking like the Patriots.

As for physicality, I like both defenses to win that, so Special Teams may provide the edge.

Packers, 19-16.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 09, 2017 at 08:50 am

True. Injuries definitely impacted the game as well.

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Cartwright's picture

September 08, 2017 at 07:12 pm

Did you see that Kareem Hunt from KC last night. Hoping one of our young running backs has a break out game as well. As far as the Patriot defense goes they looked just like the Packers in a bad playoff game.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 09, 2017 at 08:51 am

That's a very good comparison. That's exactly how the Patriots looked.

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