It’s really unfair that the Packers’ toughest match up maybe the first one of the year.
Week 1 sees the Seattle Seahawks coming to Lambeau for a match up of two perennial NFC powers. The Seahawks’ defense looks like it’s as strong as it’s ever been, so the Packers will definitely have their work cut out for them. Let’s break down a few key players from the green and gold that will help shape the outcome of this game.
This is kind of an easy point to make, but at the same time it’s a very important point to address. We all know what the Legion of Boom can do with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, so if there’s any success against that secondary then the running game will have to be carrying its weight. Ty Montgomery has taken pride this off-season in shaping himself into a true running back and we need to see the initial results.
This is a great first test against the Seahawks, who just added Sheldon Richardson to amp up their run defense. Montgomery only carried the ball 77 times over the course of 15 games last season. Not only in this game, but over the course of the season the Packers will need Montgomery to shoulder at least a large portion of the load for Mike ‘establish the run’ McCarthy.
Believe in Ty Montgomery. His ability to create mismatches all over the field will be key to slaying the Seahawks D.
Piggy backing off Ty Montgomery, Bryan Bulaga will have a role in helping Ty be successful on the ground. The right tackle is back practicing after an ankle injury looked to affect his game day availability and is now listed as Questionable. Should he be available, Bulaga will need to help spring Montgomery loose and at the same time help keep Michael Bennett on the Seahawks from getting to Rodgers.
Bulaga will also be lined up next to new addition, Jahri Evans. I know Evans is a veteran player, but I think Bulaga will have to be a strong resource for Evans as he learns how to play with a QB in Rodgers that really likes to move around. If Aaron’s jersey stays clean, look for Bulaga to be the tone setter.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Here’s a stat: Against the Packers, Russell Wilson has thrown 8 TDs to 10 interceptions, including a 4 pick playoff game (exclusively watching Wilson against the Packers is probably why I don’t believe in him as much as others). Since Wilson joined the league in 2012, the Packers secondary hasn’t exactly looked like 2000 Ravens. But the Packers have been able to force Wilson into mistakes and that is critical.
That’s why you should keep an eye on Ha Ha. The safety out of Alabama has been growing year after year as a cover man, deep safety covering the middle of the field, and run stopper. His play all over the field will allow the rest of the defense to throw Wilson off his game.
There’s been plenty made of rookie Josh Jones’ ability to be a Swiss army knife as a third safety, but Clinton-Dix is the reason the Pack will be able to experiment because he will help erase mistakes. Look for him to play man coverage against TE Jimmy Graham and to keep an eye on Seattle’s QB.
Seattle plays at Green Bay on 09/10 at 3:25 PM CT.