Every player who touches the playing field serves some importance to the outcome of the game, some big and some small. Certain players will stand out for their outstanding play, while others will stand out for their poor play. During this regular season, I will select 6 players who you should be prepared to watch closely in the weeks upcoming Packers game. These 5 players will have potential to make or break the Packers performance in each particular game. The player breakdown will feature 2 offensive players, 2 defensive players, and one player from the opposing team. I will also throw in a quick game breakdown, declare one of the players the X-Factor, and give my prediction for the game.
After 2 humiliating losses at Seattle in 2014, the Packers have done an outstanding job against the Seahawks the last two seasons. Both of the last two meetings have been home wins for the green and gold. This particular game is also at home, which is especially important because the Seahawks have been know struggle on the road. Both teams are considered contenders, so this will be a good early test for Green Bay. Both offense’s can put up plenty of points, in my opinion the game will come down to which defense can slow down the high powered offense it’s facing.
Players to Watch
1. Aaron Rodgers- X Factor
Who wouldn’t want to watch 12 out there throwing the football? Probably only the opposing team and their fans. Much has been made of the Packers having “slow starts” to their seasons. While Rodgers looked sharp in the preseason, we saw not a lot of him on the field. The Packers entire offense revolves around him, rightfully so considering he’s the most talented quarterback in the game. If Rodgers plays anything like we saw during the run the table stretch last season, we shouldn’t have to worry about slow starts.
ARod will face an opposing pass defense that will be up to the challenge of slowing this passing game down. During the last meeting Seahawks star free safety Earl Thomas was out, but he will play this Sunday. Thomas changes the dynamic of that defensive backfield dramatically by allowing the rest of the defensive backs to take chances they would not take if they had an average safety behind them. Aaron Rodgers will have his work cut out for him passing into that pass defense. Look for 12 to get some free plays on substitutions and offside penalties.
2. Jahri Evans
We will get our first look at Jahri Evans in a regular season game playing for the Packers this Sunday. For an offensive line to pass block as well as Green Bay’s unit did last season, there cannot be a weak link. TJ Lang was anything but a weak link for this offensive line, and while I do not think that Evans will be either, he is a player to keep an eye on.
The Packers offensive line is especially important in this game because Seattle’s defense often sends 4 defensive linemen with no additional pass rushers. Normally the teams front four could apply good amounts of pressure. I think they will have no such luck against our line, as they haven’t the past two meetings at Lambeau . It is important to give Rodgers time to throw throw the football and extend the play against this defensive backfield.
3. Ahmad Brooks
Another new comer. I’ll start by saying I am a big fan of this signing and what it means for the team. Ahmad Brooks is a stout run defender who will go out and get you 6 sacks per year consistently while staying healthy. Brooks is exactly what the outside linebacker room needed with two injury prone starters and a number of young backups.
Brooks has is only going to get about one full week of practice prior to this game. The reason you should keep a close eye on him is because he will be a primary sub at the position, so he needs to know the system. As a veteran of 10 plus years in the league, I do think Ahmad Brooks will not have too hard of a time out there. Another thing to watch is his overall quality of play, this guy will probably be the primary backup for both outside linebackers and therefore will see the field plenty this season.
4. Davon House
A familiar name, but another newcomer. House figures to be the number one outside corner to start the season. Davon House was cut by the Jags this offseason mainly because of a bad scheme fit. There is no guarantee that he will come out and play well this season. House missed all but the final game this preseason, so we haven’t seen much game action thus far.
I do know that House played well in camp prior to the injury, and he knows the system better than any other cornerback on the depth chart. He has a great chance at a bounce back year in my opinion. Doug Baldwin by far the best receiver the Seahawks have, he will likely draw coverage from House primarily. This will be a good test for House early leading up to drawing Julio Jones next week.
5. Eddie Lacy
The running back who frustrated us all in his final 2 seasons in Green Bay will roll back into town with the Seahawks of all teams. Lacy has been ineffective in the preseason, leading some to believe he would be cut. Instead he comes into town as the lead back with Thomas Rawls battling injury. Lacy will be running behind what is not a very good offensive line in Seattle. When you add Green Bay’s stout run defense to the equation, Lacy could be in for a long day.
The reason Eddie Lacy is important to watch is simple, the Seahawks need to establish the run to ensure they can properly attack with the pass. If Green Bay can shut down the running game early, Dom Capers can dial up his defense specifically to help against Seattle’s passing attack. It will be interesting to see how Eddie Lacy is welcomed back into Green Bay in addition to his play on the field.
Green Bay 34
Aaron Rodgers should have plenty of time to throw in this game, which does not bode well for the Seahawks pass defense. I think Rodgers has a big game, and Ty Montgomery show some flashes of brilliance. The Seahawks will have a hard time running the ball, which will not help Russell Wilson who has struggled mightily in his last two contests at Lambeau Field. Packers win it by a margin of 10.