The Seahawks start the 2017 regular season against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. These two teams last played each other during Week 14 of last season, with the Packers dominating Seattle to win 38-10. This will be a great early test for a Seahawks team that is supposed to go deep in the playoffs.
Will the Seattle defense be able to pressure Aaron Rodgers?
In last season’s game, the Seattle pass rush did very little in making Rodgers feel uncomfortable in the pocket. This allowed Rodgers to take his time and find the holes in the Seattle Cover 3 defense. Seattle rarely rushed Rodgers with more than four defenders. This time, the Seahawks need to create pressure with their four-down lineman, but also need to mix in more blitzes to keep Rodgers guessing. Recently acquired Sheldon Richardson will help create internal pressure as the 3-technique, but he won’t be able to do it by himself. Expect defensive coordinator Kris Richard to throw some exotic blitzes at Rodgers.
How will the running back situation play out?
When the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy in the offseason, he was expected to be the starting running back against the Packers. But Thomas Rawls has consistently been ahead of Lacy on the depth chart, even when battling an ankle injury throughout the preseason. Also, behind Rawls and Lacy on the depth chart is C.J. Prosise, who showed his ability receiving the ball out of the backfield. All three have different styles at the position, and it is still a question how Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will use them. Rawls will likely start, but not much else is known about the position.
Can the offensive line keep Russell Wilson on his feet?
Last season, the offensive line struggled against the Packers front seven, with Wilson getting sacked three times and throwing five interceptions. However, there will be two new starters on the offensive line with Rees Odhiambo at LT and Luke Joeckel at LG. There are also two others playing different spots on the line than last year, with Mark Glowinski at RG and Germain Ifedi at RT. It is paramount that the offensive line can stall the Packers pass rush, as Seattle may rely on Wilson if they cannot get the run game going. Wilson not turning the ball over will help the defense stay fresh against the Rodgers-led offense.
How will Bradley McDougald fit into the Seattle defense?
The Seahawks signed McDougald this offseason as insurance in case of an Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor injury. But he may be more than just a backup. With the NFL turning into a passing league, more defenses play out of the nickel defense more than 60 percent of snaps. Instead of the Seahawks bringing in another cornerback, they may bring in McDougald as the extra defensive back. Carroll has praised McDougald ever since he was signed, and he may get a bigger role in the defense than fans expected.
How well will Tyler Lockett perform?
Currently listed as the number three receiver and punt and kick returner, Lockett is looking at his first game action of 2017. Lockett has been practicing since training camp, but was held out of preseason to allow him to fully recover from a broken leg he suffered last season. It will be interesting to watch if Lockett is rusty without playing a snap in the preseason. The Seahawks rely on his game-breaking speed on special teams, and he could play a big role for the offense out of the slot. He needs to be able to knock off the rust quickly against the Packers.