The Green Bay Packers could feel sorry for themselves. They could complain about having to play on the road on opening night in Seattle against the defending Super Bowl Champs. Knowing how hard it is to win at Qwest Field, particularly at night, they would be justified in losing this game and in the end, no one would blame them.
On the other hand, championship teams fear no one and despite the difficult task that lies ahead, Green Bay should not fear Seattle, not one bit.
So instead of feeling sorry for themselves (which they aren’t) the Packers should view the season-opener as a challenge, an opportunity to make a statement to every team in the NFL that Green Bay is a force to be reckoned with and a contender to bring home Lombardi in 2014.
Right now, Seattle and San Francisco are widely considered the two best teams in the NFC, if not the entire NFL. Over the past two seasons, they have proven they are the big dogs by repeatedly beating teams like Green Bay into submission.
Therefore, if the Packers want to be considered Super Bowl contenders, they need to start winning games like these — after all football’s not like horseshoes, getting close doesn’t cut it.
Sure this opening game at Seattle is going to be difficult. The Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in the league and with the Super Bowl banner being raised the same night, it’s going to be an electrifying atmosphere.
However, if you look at the Packers roster, they have been building for games like this. The team with the high-octane pass offense centered around quarterback Aaron Rodgers has changed dramatically — all thanks to Eddie Lacy.
Now the Packers run just as well as they throw and they do both as well as anyone in the NFL. They are no longer a finesse team on offense and the Julius Peppers signing just confirms the Packers are building their defense for games like this by loading up on pass-rushers and corners — just like Seattle.
If you examine the Seattle defense you will see its really built on three things; stopping the run, rushing the passer and forcing turnovers. It’s how every NFL defense should be built. Stopping the run puts team in long down and distance situations, leading to obvious passing situations, where turnovers and sacks can be created.
Green Bay has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback, last season the Packers posted 44 sacks, tying them for ninth in the NFL. That was even with the team’s best pass rusher Clay Matthews sidelined for multiple games. A healthy Matthews teaming with Peppers should help Green Bay’s pass rush even more potent in 2014.
Green Bay is also very good at the cornerback position with Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Micah Hyde and Casey Heyward. Work needs to be done at safety but that’s what that should be addressed in the upcoming draft.
The Packers still need to address their run defense but midway through last season they were one of the best defenses in the league against the run, so with a little help in the draft, there is reason to believe they could be stout again in 2014.
Last offseason, Mike McCarthy made improving the run game a priority and now the Packers do it as well as anyone. McCarthy has since shifted his focus to improving the defense and hopefully the results will be similar.
If they are and Green Bay can become a top-10 defense again, then a Super Bowl Championship is definitely within reach.
However, to take that next step, Green Bay knows it has to beat the Seattle’s of the world to get where they want to go — after three years of frustration, the Packers need a statement win and there is no better opportunity for one then opening night in Seattle.