Packers vs. Seahawks on Monday Night Football is quite significant for a Week 3 game. I hate to put pressure on Seattle, particularly since it just came off a big win over the Dallas Cowboys in front of an appreciative home crowd at CenturyLink Field. However, Week 2 is over and it is time for Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the squad to get ready for a nationally televised game. Green Bay is coming to town and this is a must-win game.
I know what some of you are thinking. A must-win game in Week 3? Yes, and there are five good reasons why the Seahawks cannot afford to lose this game.
The win against the Dallas Cowboys told us a lot about the maturity of this defense and the ability of Russell Wilson to direct this offense. However, we need something more.
We need to know that the win over the Cowboys was not a fluke.
I want to believe that the 27-7 win was about great running by Marshawn Lynch, timely throws from Russell Wilson and an active defense that harassed Tony Romo all day. That is what the statistics tell me, and that is what I saw when I watched the game.
Still, teams have bad games. Romo made some mistakes, and Seattle's special teams came up with some key plays in the opening minutes. Maybe Dallas was dealt an emotional blow and just never recovered.
The point is that anyone can have one good game. If the Hawks go back-to-back against America’s Team and the Green Bay Packers, it makes a bold statement about their legitimacy.
I do not think we have to worry about the confidence of Russell Wilson. His confidence is arguably part of the reason that he got the starting job. However, how much would it boost his confidence if he beat Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers in consecutive weeks?
The psychology of young quarterbacks has to be incredibly complex. Do you want them to experience some failure so they are reminded that humility can be a great teacher? Or, do you want them to experience immediate success so they develop a swagger that allows them to believe they can win any game?
Every time a team gets a new quarterback that has the potential to be an elite player, there is a sense of nervous excitement. As good as Matt Hasselbeck was during his career, I do not know if he will ever be regarded as a legendary NFL quarterback.
Do not get me wrong. It is not like Russell Wilson is or is not going to be an elite signal-caller as a result of this game. However, it sure would add to his growth if he could pull off this win and keep Seattle heading in the right direction.
Of course, despite the fact that Wilson beat the Cowboys, some are still determined to make Wilson’s height an issue. Have we not moved past that yet?
You have to beat the good teams. This is, of course, an obvious statement. However, when you are a team that many experts predicted would finish 7-9, it helps to defeat the supposedly top franchises in the NFL.
Granted, I am assuming that the Seahawks do not sit around and lament that they are forgotten in the distant Pacific Northwest by the national media.
I do not put a lot of stock in “power rankings” early in the season but they do form some of the opinions about the NFL. Based on one list, the Seahawks just beat the team that was ranked No. 10 last week. It sure would be impressive if they beat the No. 4 team in the NFL.
The fans in Seattle are starting to believe that this team has taken the next step towards being an upper-echelon team.
The San Francisco 49ers look really, really good. They are running the ball particularly well, and so far they are not letting anyone return the favor. I cannot wait to see how Marshawn Lynch does against them. So far, the Niners have only faced Cedric Benson and Kevin Smith. Not exactly elite runners.
If the game does not go well against Green Bay and the Seahawks end up 1-2, they could already be in a deep hole in the NFC West. Unfortunately, fans saw this movie last year and they know how it turned out.
That is assuming that the Niners win Week 3, but given that they are facing a below-average Minnesota Vikings team, it is unlikely that they'll lose.
When the Seahawks head to San Francisco on October 18, it would be nice if the game had a major bearing on the rest of the season.
The Seahawks cannot lose ground.
Nothing beats home cooking, particularly when CenturyLink Field is ranked as the loudest stadium in the NFL.
After the Green Bay game, four of the next five games will be on the road, and the friendly home crowd will not be able to energize the Seahawks. Even the home game in the middle of that stretch will be a major challenge, as Tom Brady and the Patriots will make the long flight to Seattle.
I see the St. Louis game as very winnable, but the game against the Panthers feels like a trap game. Then, the schedulers did the Seahawks no favors, as they have to play New England and San Francisco over the span of five days.
What is the bottom line? The Seahawks need to beat the Packers. They need the momentum, as the road ahead gets even rougher.