Despite their beating of the Broncos, I'm just not sure the Hawks are getting the respect they deserve. I saw where ESPN insider had Green Bay with a better chance to win the Super Bowl this season and to me that is laughable. I know part of it is based on schedule, but this Seattle team is laced with superior talent. Only 25% of the ESPN clowns predicted them to repeat as champs, which is a surprisingly low number.
"Too hard to repeat" gets thrown around a lot when discussing why defending champs often come up short the next season. While it certainly is hard to repeat in this league, if any team has positioned themselves to do so it is these Seahawks. Most Super Bowl champs get purged of coaches and key players who take more money to go elsewhere. That is not the case here as apart from losing replaceable players like Golden Tate and Chris Clemons, the Hawks return all their key players and coaches/coordinators. There was very little upheaval with this team during the offseason - a rarity for a Super Bowl champ. The Hawks are also young and hungry. This isn't a veteran team that is satisfied with a ring. They have a chance to be great and they know it. I have not seen a single shred of evidence that this team is fat and happy after last year. Russell Wilson won't let them have that mindset.
They should also be better on the field. There's no reason at all to expect a dropoff from the best defense in the league. I'm not buying that the stricter contact rules are going to cause this defense to collapse. I think it's nonsense. This isn't a defense you can crack with prep time either because they do nothing exotic. They line up 11 guys man on man and say "beat us". Lost last year was the fact the Hawks had a banged up offensive line with almost every starter suffering an injury. This group is healthy this season and I expect the offense to be very, very good. Not that they need to be significantly better anyway as they were Top 10 in PPG, YPP, and DVOA...surprising to most I'm sure. Having a #1 WR in Harvin with also be a boost.
I love Aaron Rodgers as much as the next guy, but on paper this is the worst group of receivers he's ever had entering a season. Cobb and Nelson are the only established players and one of them will be taken out of the game by Sherman. The rest are all unproven vets or rookies. When I look at this Packers roster I ask myself where are the playmakers? Who is going to go into Seattle and beat that defense here? Randall Cobb?!?! GB also starting a rookie center after their regular got hurt. This kid has not taken a single snap with Aaron Rodgers this preseason and now goes into the loudest stadium in the league on prime time. Good luck. GB's defense has a hell of a lot to prove as well. No doubt they will be better than last year, but that's not saying much because they were putrid last season. I will believe the turnaround when I see it.
Even against a guy like Rodgers (Seattle has made the "elite" QB's look like minced meat the last few years...they have a combined rating against SEA's D that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mike Glennon had last year), laying less than a TD at home with Seattle in primetime seems like a great bet. These guys are young, hungry and out to prove they can win several championships. They are also quite peed off that they only got one primetime home game this season. I expect them to give it all they've got.