The Seahawks and Packers are co-favorites in the NFC to make it to the Super Bowl, which is why Sunday’s season-opening matchup is such an important game.
If you win, you basically have a two-game lead over the loser because of the tiebreaker. Say the Seahawks and Packers both finish with 12-4 records, the winner of Sunday’s game could get the home field throughout the playoffs. Or it could be the difference between a No. 2 and a No. 3 seed and a first-round bye.
I have good news for Seahawks’ fans: I don’t think Pete Carroll’s team is going to beat Green Bay, which, given my track record with predictions, means they probably will.
The Seahawks had gone four years without suffering a double-digit defeat until they lost the second game of the 2015 season at Green Bay, 27-17. Then last year they experienced the biggest blowout defeat in the Russell Wilson era when the Packers won 38-10 at Lambeau Field.
Earl Thomas wasn’t there last year, and his return should make a big difference against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his gifted receivers. The addition of Sheldon Richardson on the defensive line could be a game-changer too.
But I come back to the offensive line every single time when I think about the Seahawks’ potential this year. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more talented NFL roster. But Justin Britt is the only Pro Bowl-caliber player on the offensive line.
Four of the five positions will be manned by different players than the ones who started in 2016. Germain Ifedi moved from right guard to right tackle, and the preseason reviews were mixed. Mark Glowinski moved from left guard to right guard and he hasn’t exactly seized the position, still battling with Oday Aboushi this week.
On the left side, Jacksonville let Luke Joeckel walk, and we’re supposed to expect a Jaguars’ reject to suddenly become a passable blocker here? Then at left tackle, nothing against Rees Odhiambo, but he was going to be a backup until George Fant tore his ACL in the preseason. How do you go from playing only 33 snaps in 2016 to being a competent starting left tackle in 2017? I’ll answer my own question – you don’t.
I have a feeling the Seahawks will be in a lot of close, low-scoring games this year. Their defense will keep them in every game; their offense will sputter and won’t be able to take advantage of their speedy weapons because of the line.
The Packers are three-point favorites, but I think they’ll win by double digits again and just hope that Wilson doesn’t get hurt in the first game of the year. Packers 24, Seahawks 13.
Montana at Washington (UW by 39)
The Huskies are coming off an uninspiring 30-14 win at Rutgers and should roll in this one, but the Grizzlies figure to beat the out-of-whack spread. Huskies 45, Grizzlies 13.
Boise State at Washington State (WSU by 10 ½)
The Cougs lost 31-28 in Boise last year but have the superior team this year and are playing at home. Cougars 38, Broncos 20.
Last week against the spread: 0-2.
Season record: 0-2.