Seahawks vs. Packers: A first look
Getting a first look at the Seahawks’ opening opponent, the Green Bay Packers
By the numbers
13: Green Bay’s NFL championships, most of any team. Chicago is next with nine.
7: Green Bay’s NFC North titles since 2002
400.3: Green Bay’s yards per game in 2013, third in the NFL behind Denver (457.3) and Philadelphia (417.3)
Game time: 5:30 p.m., CenturyLink Field.
TV: Ch. 5
Coach: Mike McCarthy, 82-45-1 in eight years, all with Green Bay.
2013 Record: 8-7-1
Last game: Finished preseason 3-1 by beating Kansas City 34-14.
The series: The Packers lead 8-6. But it doesn’t take much of a memory to recall Seattle’s last win, the controversial 14-12 victory in 2012 when Golden Tate came down with a much-debated TD reception on the final play.
Early line: Seahawks by 5½
Key players: Now 30, quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, hoping this season to stay healthy after missing seven games last season due to a collarbone injury. Rodgers looked in midseason form during the preseason, completing 21 of 30 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Second-year running back Eddie Lacy revitalized Green Bay’s running game last season, rushing for 1,127 yards in the last 13 games of 2013 and finishing with a franchise rookie record of 1,178. His emergence helped Green Bay finish fourth in the NFL in yards per carry at 4.7. Defensive end Julius Peppers, a 12-year veteran, signed as a free agent with Green Bay in the offseason, and the Packers are altering his role just a little bit, asking him to play in a two-point stance instead of with his hand on the ground. His objective, though, will remain the same — to rush the passer.
Green Bay’s keys to success: The Packers enter the season regarded by many as the team with the best chance of unseating the Seahawks as NFC champs. Concluded SI.com’s Monday Morning Quarterback: “There’s not a deeper, more talented all-around team in the NFC.” Rodgers remains the key to the offense, but the emergence of Lacy, as well as a deep running back corps, has made the Packers a more balanced offense, giving the team an able complement to the Rodgers-led passing attack. Green Bay’s ability to establish the running game — and Seattle’s to stop it — will be a telltale sign early.