The Green Bay Packers will be taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. The game will be played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida where the Packers have not played in eight years. The game will be broadcast on Fox at 12pm central time with Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch on the call. The temperature at game time should be around 93 degrees with 54% humidity making it tough for a northern tier team to play in.
These two teams don’t play very often because of the conference alignment and how the scheduling works out. Also, the Jaguars have only been a team since 1993.
They have played a total of 5 times since 1995 with the Packers leading the series 3-2 with the last meeting being in the 2012 with the Packers winning 24-15 at Lambeau. This will be the fourth time in the series history that the Packers will be playing in Jacksonville and are 2-1 all-time in the sunshine state.
The Packers are coming out of a very successful preseason where they ended up 3-1 and were able to see what their young players can do and how they will contribute to the team. A couple of highlights from the preseason was seeing Aaron Rodgers in the third game against the 49ers and him being able to get some time to throw and find receivers that were open unlike much of last season.
Quarterback Joe Callahan who happens to have the same exact birthday as I do, June 4th, 1993 also looked very good in his preseason reps and with the ankle injury to Brett Hundley, Callahan may very well be the week 1 backup quarterback.
Another plus side of the off season and preseason was seeing slimmed down Eddie Lacy playing like he did a few years ago. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson didn’t play at all during the preseason, but that was due to an ACL tear last August and coach Mike McCarthy said that Nelson will be ready to play on Sunday in Jacksonville.
The Packers are coming off one of their worst offensive seasons in team history but the with return of Jordy Nelson, a healthy and slimmed down Eddie Lacy, a new target in Jared Cook for Rodgers to throw to it could be a historic season for the Packers on the offensive side of the ball.
The Jaguars are looking for a little revitalizing as they are trying to have their first winning season in 7 years. Third year quarterback Blake Bortles is going to have to step up big for the Jags this year if they want to go as far as some people think they might with their young wide receivers and ramped up defense.
Jacksonville will definitely give the Packers some fits on offense and defense and the young energetic Jaguars team will be out in full force to try and cement their names as one of the early surprise team in the NFL if they can knock off one of the NFC favorites.
I really think that the Packers need to start out fast to be able to pull off this game either score on their first drive to put pressure on the Jags or force a turnover or a quick three-and-out to be able to get momentum of their side and quiet the Jacksonville crowd.
It should be a tough week 1 test for Green Bay but if they can match the energy that Jacksonville is going to have with their own energy with the start of the season and the return of Jordy Nelson the Packers, I think, should be able to pull off a week 1 victory and head to Minnesota in week two 1-0.
My prediction: Packers 31 – Jaguars 17!
Rest of Week 1 Picks:
Panthers over Broncos
Titans over Vikings
Texans over Bears
Browns over Eagles
Bills over Ravens
Chiefs over Chargers
Raiders over Saints
Falcons over Bucs
Jets over Bengals
Seahawks over Dolphins
Cowboys over Giants
Colts over Lions
Cardinals over Patriots
Steelers over Redskins
Rams over 49ers
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