This Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will kick off their regular season with an NFC rival showdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay opens the regular season with high aspirations coming off of a miracle run to end last season that was cut short in the NFC Championship Game by the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay will face a tough test their first week home against Seattle, but accomplishing the three Packers keys to victory will result in a convincing win.
Week One Green Bay Packers Keys to Victory
1- Keep Russell Wilson in the Pocket
The Packers have a history of struggling against mobile quarterbacks, and with a fully healthy Russell Wilson under center for the Seahawks, that could spell danger for the Packers in week one. The key to containing Wilson is keeping him in the pocket and applying consistent pressure against a subpar Seattle offensive line, especially in the fourth quarter when the game could be on the line. Although not one who turns it over much, Wilson did throw five interceptions against the Packers last December. Keeping Wilson unsettled could certainly lead to a few miscues.
Starting linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry have both had their fair share of success in the NFL; specifically Perry who is coming off of an breakout 11-sack season in 2016. New addition and 10-year NFL veteran Ahmad Brooks will be the primary backup and should be able to fill in nicely should Matthews or Perry need a breather. There’s no denying that Wilson will be able to make his plays, but if this group of pass rushers is able to limit the amount of plays Wilson can extend with his legs, the Packers defense will be in business.
2- Control the Clock and Establish Pace on Offense
When running on all cylinders, Seattle’s offense can be deadly. It’s important for the Packers to be able to give the defense long rests and keep the ball out of the hands of Wilson, who has the possibility to heat up at any moment. Green Bay will have their superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center going up against a Seattle defense that has had its fair share of success against him in the past.
Establishing the run with wide receiver turned running back Ty Montgomery will be key. If Seattle’s defensive front stifles the run early and often, then Green Bay will have to keep the pace by utilizing the quick pass game. Screens, slants and hook routes should be heavily utilized, with the occasional go route deep down the field to keep the defense honest.
3- Win The Turnover Battle
If there’s one thing that absolutely must be done in order to defeat an opponent as good as the Seahawks, it’s to win the turnover battle. That may sound cliche, but the team with the most takeaways in this game will probably be the team that wins the game.
Both teams have quarterbacks who are masters at taking care of the football, so even one interception could shift momentum. Green Bay’s defense may have been subpar last season, but they were in the top ten in takeaway/giveaway differential.
Week one will come down to the final quarter of play and be decided by one score or less, so an interception or a fumble recovery deep in enemy territory will be emphatic.