Line: Seattle -6

Two teams collide in the seasons opening game that saw two very different endings to their seasons last year. The Packers were playing good football early on in the season and appeared to be rounding into form as the perennial contender that they always are until star quarterback Aaron Rogers sustained an injury that forced him to miss 7 games and torpedoed any of the teams playoff chances. Seattle started the season out well under the surprising leadership of young quarterback Russell Wilson and continued to improve on a week-to-week basis that led to a dismantling of the Denver Broncos in the SuperBowl.

Old school football people will tell you must have a strong defense in order to win a championship and the Seahawks can certainly put a check mark in that box. They had the most dominant defense in the league all season long and it was on full display during the Superbowl where they completely shut down a high -powered Bronco offense. Their secondary has nicknamed themselves the “Legion of Boom” and they live up to their names with hard hits and passes defended. They led the NFL in scoring defense at 14.4 points per game and average yards allowed at 274. Old school NFL fans will also tell you that you have to be able to run the football in order to succeed and the Seahawks can also put a check mark in that box. Marshawn Lynch has proven to be amongst the elite running backs in the NFL. He has rushed for 4, 624 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season since joining the team in 2010. The receiving core will get a big boost from the addition of a healthy Percy Harvin who is an elite receiver and playmaker when healthy. Last season he only appeared in 1 regular season game and he will need to stay healthy if the Seahawks want to be a productive offense. He will essentially take the place of Golden Tate who signed with the Lions in the offseason.

Rodgers injury forced the team to focus more on their running game last season and it showed with the continued improvements weekly from rookie running back Eddie Lacy who went on to become offensive rookie of the year. He averaged 4.7 yards a carry and scored 11 touchdowns. Rodgers now has a proven young tailback that he can rely on and it is sure to make the play action passing game even more dangerous for opponents. Wide Receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are familiar with the system and give Rogers multiple options. The defense has been a disappointment over the last few years, the hope is that some changes to the scheme as well as the signing of veteran Julius Peppers and first round pick Ha Ha Clinton Dix will help make the necessary improvements.

Week one is always tough to call and the Seahawks will be fired up in front of the home crowd. The key will be how the team handles the emotion as well as the pressure of being the defending champs for the first time.

Pick: Seattle -6

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