This Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will start their NFL season at home against the NFL powerhouse Seattle Seahawks. Both teams have Super Bowl hopes and a win in the first week of the regular season would bring either team closer to achieving that goal. Most importantly, his game could mean a lot down the road for home field advantage in the playoffs.

There are three specific matchups that can decide this game:

1. Jordy Nelson vs. Richard Sherman

When discussing the Packers, one has to start by mentioning the connection between quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his receivers. However, the main receiver that one should focus on is Jordy Nelson. Nelson has been the Packers’ number one receiver for several years and is still a crucial component of the Packers potent offense. Last season, Nelson had six receptions and two touchdowns against the Seahawks and will look to duplicate that performance in 2017. Sherman, one of the best cornerbacks in the league, is known for playing specifically on one side of the field. In the past, the Packers have purposefully put Nelson on the opposite side of Sherman which has yielded tremendous results. After the Packers 38-10 victory last season against Seattle, one can expect Sherman to guard Nelson on the majority of plays regardless of side. If the Seahawks are able to shut Nelson down, the Packers offense should struggle mightily and lose the game as a result.

2. The Packers’ Offensive Line vs. the Seahawks’ Defensive Line

Throughout the preseason, the Packers’ offensive line struggled to protect the quarterback. The Packers gave up multiple sacks in every single preseason game which is extremely concerning with due to the defensive line of the Seahawks. In addition to the offensive line struggles, starting tackle Bryan Bulaga’s status for week one is currently unknown due to an ankle injury that plagued him throughout the preseason. With various pass rushers including Michael Bennett, Rodgers could potentially be sacked multiple times and the Seahawks could potentially dominate the battle at the line of scrimmage.

3. The Packers’ Secondary vs. the Seahawks’ Receivers

One glaring concern for the Packers going into the 2017 season is their secondary. After the Packers got torched by Dez Bryant and Julio Jones for over 100 receiving yards each in the playoffs, the Packers addressed that concern by signing cornerback Devon House and by drafting cornerback Kevin King in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. However, the number one cornerback on the depth chart at the moment is Quinten Rollins. Together, the secondary will have to slow down veteran receiver Doug Baldwin, big play threat Tyler Lockett, and mega-target Jimmy Graham. The Packers will have to slow down the big play ability of quarterback Russell Wilson if they hope to start the season undefeated. In order to do so, the new additions to the Green Bay secondary will have to be up to the challenge and will have to prevent huge plays in the passing game.

As for my prediction in the contest, I expect the Packers to win an extremely close game. This game is basically a toss-up and I can see both offenses being extremely difficult to stop. Having said that, I think that the Green Bay’s offense is better than Seattle’s and I think that Aaron Rodgers will be too much for Seattle to handle.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 28, Seattle Seahawks 27 

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