How many week-one games have massive playoff implications? This year, at least one, when the Seattle Seahawks travel to Green Bay to face the Packers. Both are favorites from the NFC to reach Super Bowl LII, and the results of this game will factor into who actually gets there.
Seattle comes in after a 4-0 preseason. The defense showed flashes of its old self, with free safety Earl Thomas once again at full health after a gruesome leg injury in week 14 of the 2016 season. The defense wasn’t finalized after the fourth preseason victory over the Oakland Raiders when recently signed cornerback Tramaine Brock was traded to the Vikings and receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round draft pick were traded to the Jets for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. With the amount of talent on the defense, they should give Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense fits all day.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Seahawks will once again make do with a makeshift offensive line, although not by design. Starting left tackle George Fant was injured in the second week of the preseason, leaving the team to once again shuffle players around. Playing behind that line is quarterback Russell Wilson, who, like Thomas, is recovered from his injuries and expects big things from 2017. While running back Marshawn Lynch is still missed, the depth at the position should make up for him, and possibly take the team to new heights.
Green Bay boasts one of the NFL’s oldest and most storied franchises but these two teams have developed much in the way of recent history. The ‘Fail Mary’ game, in 2012, officiated by replacement officials while the regulars were on strike, ended on a controversial call. There was a shot a redemption in the 2014 regular season, but Seattle sort of ran away with it. Then, another shot, in Seattle, for the NFC Championship. This time, Green Bay jumped out to a 16-0 lead by halftime.
While there is a lot to be excited about for the 2017 edition of the Seahawks, Lambeau Field has not been the most welcoming environment, with losses there in both 2015 and 2016. Green Bay comes into this season with high expectations, but for all the miracles Aaron Rodgers has been able to work, the Packers have as many questions as Seattle. Tackle Brian Bulaga is uncertain to play, and with the running game lacking, the newly-minted ‘Death Row’ defensive line will have its opportunities. The defense was streaky last season, and despite the drafting of Washington cornerback Kevin King, it remains to be seen how improved it will be.
The season opener is scheduled to kick off at 1:25 p.m. PT and you can find everything you need to know to watch the game here.