The 2014 NFL season begins tonight before what promises to be a raucous crowd welcoming the Seattle Seahawks. The defending champs open their title defense against the Green Bay Packers who are hoping to spoil the party. The game kicks off what will be an interesting week for predictions. My record for last season was a fairly impressive 176 - 97 -1. Not bad in a league where parity is the goal. I'll post the full slate of this week's games on Friday, but for now, let's take a look at tonight's match-up.
Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks:
The Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers head into Seattle hoping to do what few teams have been able to do the last couple of seasons. The Seahawks enjoy what is currently the best homefield advantage in the league. Century Link Field is amazingly loud for an open air stadium. Combine that with the talent that the Seahawks put on the field and you end up with a very difficult combination to beat. The Packers start a rookie center in front of Rodgers, so I wouldn't be surprised to see an inordinate number of false starts and other offensive line problems tonight. Green Bay is going to have to be able to effectively run the football to slow down Seattle's aggressive defensive play.
Another factor will be the new emphasis on cracking down on illegal contact by the defense. After the Seahawks' secondary mugged the Broncos receivers on their way to winning the Super Bowl, the league decided to take action. We'll have to see if the officials have any impact on giving the Packers a better chance at executing their passing game. If so, this one could be a little closer than if the Seahawk defenders get to wreak havoc on the Green Bay receivers.
I just don't see, unless Seattle experiences a post championship letdown, the Packers pulling off the upset tonight. Russell Wilson on one side and Richard Sherman on the other will be too much for Green Bay.
Seattle 27 Green Bay 23