We survived everyone. After many depressing, football-less Sunday’s, we have arrived. Football is back, which means, another chance at football history, that being the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. For Green Bay, the first couple weeks will prove to be challenging. To start out the 2017 campaign, the Packers will face a familiar foe, the Seattle Seahawks. Since 2012, Green Bay and Seattle have faced five times, four of those coming in the regular season. In 2014, the Packers and Seahawks opened up the season with the Packers getting blown out 36-16. In those five contests, Seattle leads the series 3-2, however, the Packers have won the last two, with a 38-10 drubbing of Seattle in Green Bay being the most recent matchup between the NFC juggernauts.
One of the biggest stories going into this game is the return of former Packer, Eddie Lacy. Lacy will be making his return to Green Bay after being signed by Seattle in Free Agency. We are all aware of the highly publicized struggles Lacy has had with his weight, but whether or not those issues ultimately led to his tenure in Green Bay being cut short is anyone’s guess, although most will say it did. After earning $55,000 as an incentive by the Seahawks for weighing in at less than 250 pounds over the summer, Lacy may be in his best shape since his Rookie of the Year season in 2013. Although he will have to share carries with the likes of Thomas Rawls and C.J Prosise, Lacy should be able to make some sort of impact in the backfield for the Seahawks.
For the Packers, one thing to watch out for is how the offensive line will hold up against an elite group of defensive linemen for the Seahawks. Recently traded to Seattle is longtime New York Jet Sheldon Richardson, who will add to a defensive line already consisting of two other All-Pro caliber players, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Second year pro Jarran Reed is not too bad either. Those four, who are projected to start week one, along with a strong core of linebackers will give the Packers offensive line an early challenge to say the least. David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Jahri Evans, and Bryan Bulaga are all expected to start on the offensive line. A solid starting five to say the least. However, after that, it does not look good. With reliable backup center JC Tretter gone to Cleveland, TJ Lang in Detroit, and Josh Sitton in Chicago, that does not leave much depth for this offensive line. Four backups are listed on the Packers depth chart, Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy, Justin McCray, and Lucas Patrick. Even if one starter on offense gets hurt and is not able to play, the backups will not be able to hold up against a stout front seven for Seattle. Keep in mind, starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga has been nursing an ankle injury since mid-August.
Expect a close game throughout, unlike the meeting between these two that we witnessed last year. Like most close games with the Packers, it will all come down to how effective the run game will be in crucial times. While this idea has been cliched for years, time management will be key. Both defenses want to keep the opposing offense off the field. The more time Aaron Rodgers and co. have, the more likely the Packers are going to win, it is that simple.
For now, sit back and relax. Football is back. From now until February, Sunday’s are for football, enjoy it while it lasts, because before you know it, it will be gone again.