Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks will be the most important game of the season for the Green Bay Packers.

There, I said it, even though nobody who works at 1265 Lombardi Ave. would. But, hey, why should they? It only gives the other team bulletin-board material. And why reporters would ask any Packer player to comment on the lingering effects from last season’s collapse in the NFC Championship game days before meeting Seattle again is beyond me. What did they expect the players to say anyhow?

So how could the second game of the season, in September, a non-divisional game, against a winless opponent, suddenly become the most important game of the season?

Well, it’s not about standings or home record or getting a victory, although that is big. It’s really a matter of the mind.

The Packers have won four consecutive North Division titles, but have appeared in zero Super Bowls since 2010. The Seahawks, along with the 49ers, have been the two teams that have tormented the Packers over that stretch. Seattle has won its last three matchups against Green Bay, including last year’s NFC Championship game in Seattle.

The Packers, to a man, say they’ve forgotten about it. Even the Seahawks players are claiming amnesia this week. But don’t believe it. Psychologically, the Seahawks are in the Packers mind, whether it’s the controversial jump-ball touchdown in the regular season that gave Seattle the victory, or the playoff debacle in which the Packers led 19-7 with four minutes left only to lose 28-22 in overtime.

A victory Sunday at home and the pain will subside, but not be completely forgotten. Not until this perennial playoff team gets back to the Super Bowl can Packer players, coaches and fans stop flashing back to how the 2014 season ended, whether they admit it or not.

The Packers should win Sunday. They are the better team right now.

Aaron Rodgers is playing as good if not better than he ever has. He hasn’t thrown an interception at Lambeau since Week 13 of the 2012 season, a streak of 512 consecutive completions. With Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor still a holdout, Rodgers could have a career day, especially with the spectacular return of receiver James Jones, a reliable running back in Eddie Lacy and an offensive line that is solid, even with the absence of Brian Bulaga, who injured a knee in Thursday’s practice and will not play Sunday night.

Reports are that Richard Sherman will line up in the slot, which means he’ll be going against Randall Cobb. I say great, let’s go right at him. Avoiding him shows weakness and a lack of confidence, which the Packers cannot afford. Avoiding turnovers and keeping the penalties at a minimum is a given.

Defensively, stopping the run is the key. The Packers must keep Marshawn Lynch and especially Russell Wilson in check; they’ve always had difficulty against running quarterbacks (i.e. Colin Kaepernick, who they will face on the road in Week 4). Forcing turnovers on defense, which the Packers did last time against Wilson, is one way, but coming out strong and dictating tempo is in their control.

Oh, and last week Seattle gave up several big plays on special teams.

The last time a Packer returned a kickoff for a touchdown was Nov. 19, 2000 (Allen Rossum, vs. Indianapolis), and the last time a Packer returned a punt for a touchdown was Nov. 9, 2008 (Will Blackmon, vs. Minnesota).

Sunday night would be a great time for the Packers to end one of both of those streaks, as well as the mental game to the Seahawks.

Follow the page NFL
Follow the page Green Bay Packers
Don't miss our page on Facebook!