Packers vs Seahawks: No Pressure for the Packers

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Packers vs Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, Mike McCarthy, 2014 NFL season, Packers season opener

The never ending torture has finally come to an end: the 2014 NFL season and Green Bay Packers football is upon us.

First up on the Packers’ march to Super Bowl XLIX is a game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle against the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. The Seahawks have the loudest stadium in the league and perhaps its most ferocious defense. Combine that with a physical running game with Marshawn Lynch and it’s a stiff challenge for Green Bay to open the regular season.

This would leave many to believe the pressure is squarely on the Packers right?

Au contraire. The heat is squarely on the defending champions.

Think about it. They’re opening at home, a place they lost once all of last season, on national television and a majority of folks (including six of the nine writers here at ALLGBP.com, myself included) are expecting them to win this game. Throw in that past Super Bowl winners are 38-9 in openers the following season and it’s expected that the Seahawks will win this game.

A lot (perhaps too much) has been made about the 2012 game between these two teams that resulted in the infamous “Fail Mary” that hand wrapped a victory to the Seahawks. These are two different teams, especially the Packers. The offensive line is rearranged and they have a little running back by the name of Eddie Lacy. The running game was non-existent in 2012 for Green Bay.

The Packers defense is a different unit as well and on paper is a much better group than they had in 2012. Enter Julius Peppers and Micah Hyde. Seattle doesn’t have the new “elephant” packages Green Bay will be running on tape and it will be up to their offense to adjust to what the Packers are doing on the fly.

Again, the pressure is on Seattle.

You also have to consider what the reaction to each possible outcome to the game would be. Seattle wins? It was expected. No big deal. This was penciled in as a loss by many for the Packers and doesn’t put too much of a damper on their long-term goals, save maybe home field advantage. The Packers win? A major statement about Green Bay would be made and immediately questions would arise about what is wrong with the Seahawks.

The Seahawks have nothing to gain and everything to lose in this game. The opposite holds true for Green Bay and that could mean a much more loose Packers team. When you consider how dangerous a loose Aaron Rodgers is, then Seattle might be in some trouble.

Expectations for the Packers are high, but they’re over the moon for the Seahawks. No team has won back to back Super Bowls since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots and while they usually have some success in the regular season, the defending champions have flamed out in the playoffs the past five seasons (just ask the 2011 Packers).

One more time for emphasis: it’s you versus history, Seattle. No big deal.

Both teams play in tough divisions, but what Green Bay will face in the NFC North is nothing like the beating the Seahawks will take from their NFC West rivals. San Francisco is a physical team and the Cardinals and Rams both should be improved. Both divisions could see all four teams finish at .500 or above, but the sheer physicality and brutal play of teams in the NFC West make every game count for the Seahawks, including those outside the division.

Better win this one, Seattle.

Packers fans are biting their nails over this one and that’s understandable. It’s the first game of the year and it’s on national television against the defending world champions to boot. Throw in the outcome of the last time these two teams played and it’s easy to see why this game carries the nerves of a playoff matchup.

To those fans: relax. The pressure isn’t on the Packers.

It’s on the Seahawks, and that’s why by late tonight the Packers could reign atop the NFL.

At least for one night. Then it’s onto the Jets.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.

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  • packfan15

    In the Packers vs. Seahawks preview at SEASon’s NFL Nation blog Seahawks blogger Terry Blount said that the quarterback Russell Wilson “best compares to” is Bart Starr. Is anyone else outraged by this statement?!? Does Terry Blount even understand who he’s talking about???

    • TedTomsin

      Didn’t read what else he said but in terms of true leadership I would have to agree. I think that is a great and fair comparison. I’m a huge Packers fan but I felt Wilson was the best qb in that rookie draft. His ability to lead is undeniable. He started as a rookie and almost took them to the super bowl. He easily could have two super bowls his first two seasons.

      He’s definitely in Bart Starr territory in my opinion in terms of leadership.
      Aaron Rodgers had to grow into the leadership position where as Wilson had taken over that team by the end of his rookie season. I must say he’s a special player. As a player he reminds me of Fran Tarkenton. Either way he’s a great player. I just hope the Packers can make his night a miserable one. I do think the Packer wins 17-16.

  • funcrusher

    You’re absolutely right, the pressure is on Seattle. But, they’ve put a lot of that pressure on themselves by running their mouths so much.

    It seems like in the past couple season openers against San Francisco, the Packers had to prove that they were still an elite team that could compete with the “tough guy” teams.

    Now, the Packers are officially in the underdog role, which is a good place to be. Especially, since they have their most talented team in years.

  • turophile

    Always pressure on game 1. Pressure on the Hawks, pressure on the Pack. High expectations for both teams. Expect very high adrenaline levels early on, for both sides.

  • Since ’61

    While I agree that there is more pressure on the Seahawks to win this game the Packers defense needs to show some improvement in this game. Yes, it’s not the end of the world or the season if the Packers lose but how they lose (if that happens) could be an issue. If the Packers defense can’t get off the field, or doesn’t tackle, or if the safeties still look like a 3 ring circus and the defense gets beat badly then we’ll know that his defense is not improved. If they lose tough they lose, but if it still looks like the 2013 defense then “Green Bay, we have a problem.” I am not expecting that to happen but we won’t know until the game is played. We know that the offense can play with anybody. If there is any pressure for the Packers it’s for the defense to begin to show that they’ve improved, even if it is in defeat. To packfan15, the only way Blount can compare Russell to Bart Starr is because he’s never seen Bart Starr play. Wilson is still young and he can still grow in the position, but to compare him with Bart Starr at this point is ridiculous and not worth further comment. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  • Chad Toporski

    I have been thinking about this before your post, and I completely agree. I think the Packers are going to go in with a fighting attitude, while the Seahawks will be playing with bravado. That being the case, if things start to go south for the Seahawks during the game, they might find it harder to recover from the shock. Meanwhile, the Packers will fight through thick or thin tonight with the same attitude. It’s going to be a great match-up, but the Seahawks definitely have more to lose.

  • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

    I’ll put a correction in here Kris: “All the pressure is on Seattle, except in the (very unlikely) event of a blowout.”

    If GB keeps this a competitive game, it’s at worst a “meh” for us. But if GB wins… bonus!

  • GBPDAN

    I had a bad feeling about this game. That’s why I didn’t voice much of a opinion on this blog prior to the game. As of week one, we have the same losing team when it comes to the big boys