Well fellow 12's, today is the day. It is the day. Today, we get to see our Seattle Seahawks take the field as they kickoff the 2014 NFL season as the defending Super Bowl Champions. Last year was a thrilling ride with all sorts of memorable moments. This year promises to capitalize on the momentum that Russell Wilson and company had going throughout last year. But enough about the past (as glorious it may be), its time to set our eyes on our next opponent: the Green Bay Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers.
Here's what to look for:
Rodgers vs. Legion of Boom Part 2: the Boom Strikes Back As fans mat recall, the last time that Rodgers came to Seattle in prime time, it birthed the legend known only as "the Fail Mary." For those of you that do not remember, in the waning seconds of a Monday Night Football game in late September 2012, then rookie Russell Wilson launched the football to end-zone hoping to connect with Golden Tate. What happened next was as bizarre as a 3 dollar bill. As Tate went for the ball, so did M.D. Jennings; and with both players having a firm grasp on the ball, they both came down with equal possession. One ref waived his arms signalling an interception to end the game, the other signalling touchdown. Even though the TD held up, the final seconds caused a lot of controversy and a lot of discussion from the guys over at ESPN. I fully expect a lot of references to that night during tonight's game, but that won't stop from some football from being played. The Legion of Boom comes into tonight's game boasting the NFL's top secondary and one of the league's premier front 7's. Rodgers is a top notch quarterback without a doubt. However, that won't stop guys like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to come in and rush Rodgers to make a mistake and plop the football in the arms of Byron Maxwell or Richard Sherman. In the last visit, Rodgers threw for 223 yards without a touchdown or an interception. In fact, the only other time in 2012 a team could say that they held Aaron Rodgers to under 250 yards passing and without any touchdowns or interceptions is the Detroit Lions in early December. That is a rare feat too as Rodgers is known to carve up defenses and shred the secondaries of opposing teams. Another thing worth mentioning is that last time, Rodgers was sacked eight times. (Image courtesy of Aaron Wilson) 8. All in the first half. Seattle's defense is definitely a force that is to be reckoned with and if they could get eight sacks against the Packers last game, there's no reason that they can't do it again. Sure it may not be to that prolific, but look for the Legion of Boom to make their mark and live up to their name tonight.
Beast Mode Cruising to the Endzone
Now last year, Green Bay ranked 25th in the NFL in run defense. Marshawn Lynch was sixth in the league with 1,257 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. I don't think I have to do the math on this to tell you that the scale is definitely tipped in favor of Lynch and the Seahawks. First some things of concern: Beast Mode is running with a new fullback in front of him in Derrick Coleman. Now I am a big believer that the running back is only as successful as his blockers (believe me, I was the one blocking most of the time). Although I don't think that Lynch will have too tough of a time, there still may be a little bit of a learning curve between Lynch and Coleman as they really didn't get a lot of playing time together during the preseason. Sure, the offensive line will also be working coherently for the first time since the third game of the preseason as well. Again, a little bit of getting used to with everyone, but I am sure that there will be a quick snap back to mid-season form for the Hawks. I believe Marshawn Lynch will also tear it up tonight. His legs are rested, he has money in the bank and he will steam his way forward through a shaky run defense in Green Bay. There's no way that the front line of Green Bay's will be able to contain him for very long as they are injured and without guys like B.J. Raji. In the last meeting, Lynch was able to rack up 98 rushing yards on 25 carries without a TD. Though it was more frequent for Lynch to not score a TD, coming in under 100 yards in 2012 only happened five other times. Although two years ago won't tell us how he will do tonight, I firmly believe Marshawn will show flashes of a younger, faster self all while punching the ball in for a couple of TDs tonight. Lynch is too good of a running back to be stopped a lack luster defense that could barely stop the run as it is. He will do great things tonight.
There you have it, two definitive keys to tonight's game versus the Green Bay Packers. The defense needs to hit early and often and Marshawn Lynch will trample the ailing Packer defense. Yes, Russell Wilson will have a good game tonight as well as he can run the ball fairly well too, and we will see brilliance from Robert Turbin coming in and giving Beast Mode a break. Percy Harvin will impact early and Jermaine Kearse will score at least once. However, there will be mistakes on Russ' part too with maybe an interception coming his way tonight or some overthrown balls in some early third down situations. BUT! The Seahawks will prevail tonight. In my view, I see the Hawks winning 27-14 tonight. Like I said, Marshawn with a couple of TDs, Kearse with the other due to over focus on Harvin and of course, Steven Hauschka kicking a couple of long field goals. Go Hawks!