Tonight is the night that everyone marked on their calendars, the start of the 2014-15′ NFL season. As the competition gets tougher, and teams get better, expect another great season of football. It all kicks off tonight with the Green Bay Packers heading west to take on the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Just two years ago these teams played in a game that featured quite the controversy. While no one is expecting any controversy tonight, this game will go a long way in predicting the NFC playoff picture.
An elite quarterback, a top running game and a very good young cornerback make up the team that I chose to represent the NFC. My choice is probably not the team that you had in mind. Although it shouldn’t be a surprise, the Green Bay Packers will represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl.
In just three years, Aaron Rodgers was able to win the hearts of the Packer faithful by bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay. The year after he won his first ring, Rodgers had another great performance, triumphantly winning the league’s MVP award. His work on the field allowed Packer fans to have a smooth transition out of the Brett Favre ERA.
To this day, Aaron Rodgers remains one of, if not, the best quarterback in the National Football League. Injuries slowed down Rodgers last season, but with him returning to full health – the league must remain on high alert. Healthy receivers and a good enough offensive line will allow Rodgers to pick up right where he left off, dominating the game.
Another area that is a part of the offense is the birth of a running game. In large part, the Packers had success last year because of their ground game. In his first season in the NFL, running back Eddie Lacy exploded, rushing for over 1,100 yards and eleven touchdowns. His play earned him the honor of receiving the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
He did a tremendous job filling the hole that was left by Rodgers. Now just imagine the two of them together. For the first time, we are going to get to see how defenses prepare for Green Bay, knowing they have a reliable rushing attack.
The biggest issue they have is the question mark at the tight end position. However, from experience we know that Rodgers is capable of making whoever the tight end is look good.
Defensively, the Packers are much improved. One concern is the loss of nose tackle BJ Raji. His loss might be an issue early on – but the coaching staff is confident in the abilities of Letroy Guion – who signed a one-year deal with the team back in March. The team also signed veteran pass rusher Julius Peppers. Although his age might impact his play, he was still good for a team best seven sacks last year in Chicago.
Also, something to keep your eye on is the secondary. They have a great mix of young talent and veteran leadership. Sam Shields is one of the league’s best young cornerbacks and Tramon Williams excels in man-to-man coverage. Green Bay also selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round of the draft, expecting him to develop into a play maker.
Because the NFC is extremely deep, it was not an easy decision picking the Packers. Essentially, I am picking them because they have the best quarterback. When you have a quarterback of this caliber, the chance that a team can overcome an average offensive line and any defensive deficiencies greatly increase. Just look at the Denver Broncos.
The Green Bay Packers look ready to make a run at the Super Bowl. They certainly have talent and a coaching staff in place to do so. This is my pick and I’m sticking to it.
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