Packers XLV

What Time Is It? It's Prediction Time, for Opener and Season

Posted September 3rd, 2014 @ 04:09pm

Normally on the week leading up to the opener, I write a blog with my season predictions and then one on the Pack's opener. Since we've got the Thursday night start, I'll combine them here.

I'll begin with the Seahawks game. Let's be honest, when the schedule came out and we saw road games in Seattle and New Orleans, most of us marked "Ls" for those two games.  Those two teams boast the two best home field advantages in the NFL and the defending champs will be ready to show the world there's no Super Bowl fatigue at work in the Pacific Northwest.

I was prepared to pick the upset. I was ready to explain why the Packers were ready to send some early shock waves across the NFC. And then Tretter and Raji got hurt. All eyes will be on rookie center Corey Linsley in what's got to be the toughest debut you could ask a kid to make. He's never taken a snap from Aaron Rodgers in a game and now he gets the big bad Seahawks defense across the line and the 12th man providing decibels all around him.

Mike McCarthy's desire to run no huddle most of the time will be challenged by Linsley's ability to handle the speed of the game and to handle line assignments in the blink of an eye. Bruce Irvin has said he'll be praying for Linsley. We all will be too.

The loss of Raji will be felt most early on and against teams that like to run the ball. Obviously the Seahawks love to pound the ball and will test the Pack's revamped defensive line early and often. Vikings castoff Letroy Guion gets the first shot at anchoring the line in Raji's place, with young up and comers Mike Daniels and Datone Jones on either side. The Seahawks offensive line is only mediocre, and they'll be starting a rookie at right tackle. Look for Dom Capers to apply the heat by showing the rookie a lot of different looks.

As average as their line is, Russell Wilson bails them out with his quick feet and amazing poise and presence under pressure. The Packers will do well to keep him from beating them with his legs and hoping their physical secondary handles its business when Russell looks for a receiver.

Speaking of which, Percy Harvin remains the team's top threat in the passing game, and the Pack has done a good job keeping him under wraps when they've played him in the past. Expect the 'Hawks to roll out some plays for Harvin that we haven't seen--we all know how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands (more on that in a moment). After Harvin, Doug Baldwin is the next best receiver and he's a good one--I expect him to have a chance at a 1,000 yard season. But after him, it's pretty average and unproven in the Seahawks passing game.

The big question in this game is how will the Pack's offense fare against the game's best defense. Expect a healthy dose of Eddie Lacy early and often to test that run defense and keep the safeties honest. They boast the best safety duo in the game, but their corners are questionable after Richard Sherman and they'll rely on safety help to cover the Pack's receiving corps.

We'll also get a first good glimpse at the Pack's revamped special teams, which will rely more on veterans this year. Sounds good in theory, until a starter suffers a serious injury on special teams. They'll need all the veteran help they can muster against the dangerous return duo of Harvin (kick returns) and safety Earl Thomas (punt returns). This game could very easily swing on a big special teams play. Look for DuJuan Harris (KR) and Randall Cobb (PR) to get the first shot at returns for the Pack.

I say the Packers hang close, and maybe lead for a good chunk of the game, but the Seahawks prevail, minus a devastating officiating mistake, 21-17.

As for the season, I've got the Pack on 12 wins (losses are at Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans and Tampa Bay). That will be good enough for one of the top two seeds in the NFC and a first round bye.

My other playoff teams in the NFC: division winners are Philadelphia, Seattle and New Orleans. Wildcards: Chicago and Tampa Bay. Yep, I think the 49ers are in for a tumble, in light of the injuries and suspensions to their defense.

In the AFC, my division winners are New England, Baltimore, Indy and Denver, with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh claiming the wildcards.

Last year I picked Seattle to beat Denver in the Super Bowl, first time in forever I got it exactly right. Let's hope lightning strikes twice: I've got the Packers over the Patriots to win Super Bowl XLIX, in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXI.


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on April 18th, 2017 at 08:34pm

No Oline. No Defense. No TE. Predicts Super Bowl Champs. Sounds about right. How do you sleep at night?

on September 3rd, 2014 at 02:15pm

Thursday night I'm hoping for a win, but expecting a loss. And if they do lose, it's not a big deal since it's Week 1, and it's the first stage of a marathon - as they say, championships aren't won in September. If they play 'em close and tough, they have a chance. And a few of you may remember my bold prediction of Denver not making the playoffs, and I'm sticking by it. Dave, I see you have the 49ers on the outs, and I'm inclined to agree with you - they've been showing all kinds of signs being ready to implode, and I agree that it's about to happen. But Friday morning should be interesting, in the event the Packers lose, the trolls infesting this site will be coming out of the woodwork. I'll do my best to ignore them (which, for me, goes against the norm...but it's a new "Voice" this year). :-)

on September 3rd, 2014 at 02:23pm

Wait... so you admit you can't beat Seattle, but you think you're going to win the SB? I think your cheese has been fermenting.

on September 3rd, 2014 at 03:21pm

I suppose by that logic, if the Packers lose tomorrow and the Vikings win on Sunday, that means the Vikings are in the SB. Yep...nothing beats a September SB party. ~ (OK, so I lied about the "new Voice" thing...if it's gotta be said, it's gotta be said) .

on September 3rd, 2014 at 04:33pm

Yeah because we said we were SB bound Bill. We just aren't delusional like the folks in Cheddarville. But, I need to remember cattle are acceptable mates there.

on September 3rd, 2014 at 05:07pm

Didn't take long, did it? ~

on September 3rd, 2014 at 05:58pm

This is the toughest opening day assignment I can recall the Packers ever drawing; even more so than San Francisco the past two years. Seattle and New Orleans are the toughest venues in the league in which to be a visiting team. Seattle will be celebrating their first Super Bowl and that should hype the team and its crowd even more than usual. While I don't think Seattle will be a Super Bowl repeater the things that happen to a team in its post-Super Bowl season won't materialize here until later in the year or the playoffs. If the Packers put on a respectably competitive game and come out of it without serious injury issues it will be an okay night. Not to worry. The Pack will win plenty this year and be on top of the NFC North again. It's not the first game of the season that determines anything and it's the last one that matters at all.

on September 3rd, 2014 at 06:07pm

The chances of the Packers winning the Superbowl looks a lot like that big ol' glazed donut Lacy eats by the dozen each morning. Stay Morbidly Obese, Wisconsin

on September 3rd, 2014 at 06:20pm

Really went out on a limb with your picks this time Siny. Took me a minute to peel myself off the ceiling after the shock of you picking the Packers to win the Super Bowl. My guess is that for them to get it done this year they will need to win a home playoff game but Rodgers doesn't like that's cold and to win in the playoffs you need an O-line and a run stopping luck with that. Maybe Matthews will learn how to tackle head on this year and someone on your o-line will rank above the bottom half of the league in sacks allowed.

on September 3rd, 2014 at 07:02pm

So you have the Packers losing to four of the five other playoff teams during the regular season, but then somehow managing to win three playoff games in a row against at least two of those teams and then the Patriots for a second time? Doh'k. Peppers isn't Reggie White and Guion isn't Gilbert Brown. Peppers is a poor man's Jared Allen, who is a poor man's effective pass rusher at this point in his career. Guion couldn't handle being a 4-3 undertackle for the Vikings, how do you think he's going to fare as an undersized nose tackle in a 3-4? At least he got a week of practice in before the season starts... Behind Guion, you have one of the worst LBs duos against the run in Hawk and Jones. Hawk was 50th out of 62 inside linebackers against the run last year. Yeah Hawk got four sacks last year, but they were all completely unblocked. The 30% of Packer fans that can run 7 yards without having to stop and take a breath could have gotten those sacks. You can try rushing around the ends all you want, but if the QB can step up into a nice pocket then it's not going to help much. And it will be a miracle if they aren't giving up 6 yards per rush up the middle. Having a rookie center and an under-achieving tackle that hasn't played in 22 months on the already poor offensive line won't help Rodgers from getting sacked 3+ times a game again this year. When in a nicely set up pocket, Rodgers is easily one of the best QBs in the league. When under pressure, he is one of the worst (per Football Outsiders). How often do you imagine he'll be under pressure with a rookie who didn't snap him the ball until this week directly in front of him and a pair of below average tackles on the edges? Remember two years ago when Rodgers got sacked 8 times against Seattle? Well Seattle's defense is better now and the Packer's offensive line is worse. Hope Rodgers puts on his clavicle pads this year..

on September 3rd, 2014 at 08:34pm

...and the silence you Lambeau Field

on September 3rd, 2014 at 09:12pm

Where are all these newbie Pack bashers coming from. After extensive research all these newbies are really one person in verbal disguise....the biggest basher of all....Paul "PA" Allen of Losing Land. GO PACK GO!!

on September 3rd, 2014 at 09:39pm

Seriously? I won't speak on everyone's behalf, but all we ask from you and your cronies is to present your statements in an intelligent manner without name calling, and be prepared to back your statements up the same way. I hope that's not too much to ask.

on September 4th, 2014 at 02:08pm

Boy I am even nervous for your fan base. good luck to your squad, Should be a great game! Both teams must be thinking why this team for our opener.

on September 4th, 2014 at 05:29pm

your right OSSG, I don't know about all of them, but pud and kasu are definitley POLLY, u can tell by his words, sorry polly we got u. thanks for helping Dave's web site though. packerlifer, I'm with u on injuries, rookie center and that crowd, just keep 12 standing after the game, they will lose 5 games this year so this would be frosting to pull this out there. I think MM will run a lot with lacy and starks and throw a lot of short passes to cobb and RB's to get rid of the ball fast and take his chance with jordy deep 2-3 times. it always comes down to our D, they have to stop lynch of course, but I see Wilson being the difference, he will scramble for 40-50 yds and pick up some critical 3rd downs and we lose 24-20, Prove me wrong Pack,

on September 4th, 2014 at 10:00am

Well lets see how my predictions went: 1. Rodgers getting sacked due to shitty o-line - CHECK (3 sacks, 5 TFL, 2 holding calls and lots of pressure) 2. Rodgers performing poorly under pressure - CHECK (a good completion percentage, but only a 5.7 yard per attempt average) 3. Packers getting run on at a 6.0 ypc or worse pace- CHECK (6.2 yard average taking away the three kneeldowns at the end of the game) 4. AJ Hawk and Jones sucking up the middle - CHECK (piss poor rush defense, two PI calls) 5. No pressure up the middle on D allowing Russell to step from the pressure - CHECK (one zero yard 'sack' by Dix, 110 QB rating, 4 rush attempts for 32 yards after taking away the three kneel downs) STOP I can only get so erect.

on September 4th, 2014 at 10:38pm

Shouldn't all the queenie trolls be slapping each other on the back and celebrating their 54th paper title instead of trolling on a Packer website.

on September 4th, 2014 at 10:51am

You're killing your father, Larry!

on September 4th, 2014 at 10:58am

who the heck is Polly? also, who is giving the Vikings a paper championship this year? 8-8 would be better than expected.. are the Packers probably going to win more games than the Vikings? yeah. Are the Packers going to win/be in/sniff the super bowl this year? nah. Of course, the Packers are another Rodgers injury away from a 4-12 season, so anything is possible (other than an attractive female packer fan).

on September 4th, 2014 at 12:30pm

OSSG and Bill the Voice of the Short-bus: this is what happens when you mess with me. I bring my 50 down and give you a real game!

on September 4th, 2014 at 12:36pm

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