The Green Bay Packers are 16-1 odds to be Super Bowl champs this time next year. With the 43-8 drubbing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII the Seattle Seahawks are now the measuring stick which all the other 31 teams in the NFL are compared. The question, of course, then is how far ahead the Seahawks are in front of the Packers.
It’s a hard call, because with 17 free agents the Packers roster will look quite a bit different when training camp begins in July, especially on defense. But it is the season of speculation so to compare the Packers to the Seahawks is fair game.
On the offensive side of the ball I think the edge goes to Green Bay. Having an MVP quarterback paired with an explosive group of receivers; even if they do lose James Jones in free-agency, gives the Packers an advantage right from the start. But Russell Wilson as he has proven, is no slouch and is a winner. And both teams have athletic and powerful running backs. Seattle’s offensive line is good enough, as is the Packers’. With the expected return of Bryan Bulaga the O-line is a unit that should have more depth and talent this coming season.
The defense is where the advantage clearly belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. With a defensive backfield filled with big and fast ball hawking athletes who are not afraid of contact the Seahawks are heads and shoulders above Green Bay. Seattle’s defensive backs make the rest of their defense better. They take the opposition’s receivers out of the game. This gives Cliff Avril and Seattle’s defensive lineman more time to get after the quarterback. Not to mention Seattle’s stout run defense.
On special teams, if healthy, as demonstrated in Super Bowl XLVIII Seattle’s Percy Harvin is as dangerous as they come. But believe it or not the Packers were ranked slightly higher, four spots ahead of Seattle which finished the 2013 regular season ranked 27th in special teams return yards. Slight edge goes to Green Bay.
On the sidelines I think when it comes to X’s and O’s Mike McCarthy gets the nod over Pete Carroll. However, I think Carroll is a more of an inspirational coach who connects better with his players and in return gets the most out of the talent he has to work with. He just won the Super Bowl so how can you argue against Pete Carroll. Advantage Seattle.
In the front office, John Schneider is the resident genius of the NFL GM ranks. That will last for precisely a year, unless Seattle wins again next season, then he will have a two-year run. Schneider is a disciple of Ted Thompson and I am sure he would credit Thompson for a portion of his success. With that said, Ted could take a few notes from Schneider and mix in a few battle tested veterans to go with his draft and develop philosophy.
Fans, I have bad news for us. Not only are we not exempt from this comparison, I think we too have some work to do in the offseason. The 12th man is a force. Not to say that Packers Nation is not loyal, or fierce, but I think the 12th man did a better job of impacting the game and creating a hostile environment for the Seahawks’ opponents. Maybe we are getting a bit complacent.
As Packers fans know it is difficult to maintain dominance and there is a lot of truth to the adage that NFL stands for Not for Long. The Seahawks will get the “A Game” of every team they face in 2014. To win they need beyond talent, good luck and good health. I don’t believe the Seahawks are miles beyond Green Bay. But I do think the defense needs some substantial upgrades to keep the Packers in the conversation.