2017 NFL Week One Preview: Seahawks vs. Packers

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Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles away from Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go Seahawk fans! The moment fans have been waiting for since the gut wrenching 2016 Divisional Round loss in Atlanta is finally here. No more waiting. No more guessing who’s going to make this team. No more wishing to see the Legion of Boom for an entire four quarters. Most of all, this one counts in large part because of where the Seahawks find themselves in Week 1.

Seattle travels to Green Bay, a place where the Seahawks haven’t left cheese head country on the winning end since Jon Kitna won there 27-7 back in 1999.  A healthy Russell Wilson, a new and improved defense led by a rejuvenated Earl Thomas, and a nearly impossible to block defensive line look to march into Lambeau and send a strong message to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the NFL.

Interesting Matchups & Players to Spotlight

This one has all the makings in what’s surely guaranteed to be the most exciting game of Week 1. Earl Thomas, who many say has come back stronger and better than what’s been seen looks primed and ready to hold down the backend against one of the leagues most potent passing attacks. If there’s one matchup that is can’t miss, it’s that of the Legion of Boom taking on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his arsenal of weapons.  Brother of Seahawks standout defensive end Michael Bennett, and newly acquired tight end Martellus Bennett will look to exploit the middle of Seattle’s defense and its pair of Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

On the flipside, the Hawks enter Week 1 with the leagues most dynamic and complimentary array of running backs. Former Packers bruising running back Eddie Lacy figures to see the bulk of the carries as Pete Carroll mentioned in his Wednesday press conference that running back Thomas Rawls is dealing with a high ankle sprain and is listed as questionable. Seattle also has at its disposal preseason surprise and 7th round draft pick rookie Chris Carson, along with 3rd down specialist C.J. Prosise.

Another intriguing matchup to keep an eye on is a new and improved Jimmy Graham. The 4-time pro bowler and 2013 All-Pro tight end looks to return to form with a full training camp and preseason under his belt. Watch for he and Wilson to get that connection going early on against a Green Bay defense that surrendered the 8th most yards to tight ends last year.

Possible Downfalls

All last season, Seattle’s offensive line was without a doubt the Achilles heel of their team. This offseason, the Seahawks made a couple moves to address the issue by way of free agency along with the NFL draft. They brought in left guard Luke Joeckel to fill that spot along with taking LSU lineman rookie Ethan Pocic. How this group, led by standout center Justin Britt, holds up and protects Wilson will most definitely be something to keep an eye on throughout the game.

Essentials to win

It comes as no surprise based on the Seahawks track record the past several years that they’ll hang their hat on the defense to head back to Seattle with a win.  Don’t blink in this one, you may miss what could be an all-out sack fest with what is now without a doubt the leagues most dangerous and feared defensive front 7 filled with Pro Bowlers. Newly acquired defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson paired alongside Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, and Bennett will most definitely provide the pressure Seattle needs to allow the All-Pro defensive backfield and the Legion of Boom to do what they do best Sunday.

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