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vs. Packers Point Spread and Pick.
Green Bay Packers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 8:30pm EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +5/SEA -5
Over/Under Total: 46
The NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, as the Green Bay Packers come into CenturyLink to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. For those who have followed the Seahawks, its almost surreal to be saying Super Bowl Champions, but they were clearly the best team in the NFL last season. And unlike recent teams that have suffered from Super Bowl hangover, those forecasting a Seattle downturn shouldnt hold their breath. Meanwhile, Green Bay looks to get the year started the right way with big hopes for the 2014 season.
The optimism in Green Bay is centered on the balance they were able to find last season in their offense. A lot of credit goes to Eddie Lacy, now in his 2nd year, as he exceeded expectations in giving Green Bay a nice presence at running back. Aaron Rodgers is healthy and maybe people have lost sight in the past few years of how truly special he is. He is still among the absolute elite when it comes to NFL quarterbacks.
Having Rodgers remain healthy could really make a difference. In addition, having a healthy Randall Cobb along with Jordy Nelson gives Green Bay an enviable 1-2 punch at receiver. To make it all come together, the offensive line made some strides last year amidst injuries and difficult conditions. RT Bryan Bulaga returns from injury and they are a tough unit all the way through. Look for a Green Bay offense that gets the job done. Rodgers is awesome and he has a running game to work with now, with a full-power offensive line. That could be a tough combination to stop, even for exemplary defenses like Seattles.
If Green Bay stumbles, it may be the defense that is the reason. The run defense is iffy and even more so now with the loss of BJ Raji, a key member of the D-line. Truth be told, not a lot is expected from this group. Unless several players over-perform, stopping the run could be an issue–something potential Green Bay backers dont want to hear when about to go up against Marshawn Lynch. The saving grace for the Packers might be behind the line. Julius Peppers joins Clay Mathews to give them two playmakers at linebacker. They added first-round free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to a secondary that boasts a lot of talent and depth.
Seattle has to martial the resources needed in light of winning the Super Bowl. It is human to expend less effort right on the heels of scaling the mountain and reaching the peak. There is a reason why its been so long since a Super Bowl champion repeated. But Seattle seems to be above it. They have the youth, the hunger, the right coach, and a perpetual chip on their shoulder. They just dont strike one as being a team that will be satisfied and expecting them to be deflated this season could be a costly mistake.
Seattle lost some people, some more subtle pieces to their championship puzzle of last season. The bad news for the opposition is that they reloaded and in some cases, may even be stronger than they were before. Russell Wilson has quickly developed into a top quarterback–a steely, cerebral, and confident field general that doesnt make many mistakes. Marshawn Lynch might be coming to the end of his prime, but until seeing differently, he is still one of the top backs in football. They lost WR Golden Tate, but having Percy Harvin for the whole year will be an upgrade. Add draft pick Paul Richardson and a boost in the aerial attack is very possible.
The Seattle O-line added second-rounder Justin Britt and added Eric Winston. Meanwhile, Max Unger and Russell Okung are two of the best tackles in football. The added depth will only make them better here. They had to fill a few voids left on the D-line, but should be fine. The linebacking corps remains intact and even though they lost CB Brandon Browner, this secondary is still the best in football, featuring the best corner and safety in the game, with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, respectively.
With the Seahawks a notch more potent in the passing game, most guys returning, and the few gaps filled well, look for another potent Seattle display this season. But Green Bay is certainly a tough first test. If there is any residual hangover, it will cost them big in this game, as they will need to come out in good form or they just might lose a footrace to Green Bay, whose offense might surprise people this season.
Something tells me the Seattle high-water point hasnt come to an end. The best team last year may just be the best team again this year. We never know until we see for sure, but look for a very emotional night at CenturyLink. The fans, already the most rabid throng in the league, will be frothing at the mouth even more than normally, as they pour out their appreciation for the world champions. That should fire up the Seahawks, who will be hard to stop. Add in a Green Bay defense that might need some time to come together and the Seahawks seem like the more complete team as we enter week one.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Seattle Seahawks minus 5 points.
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