When: Monday, 5:30 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Record: 1-1 after beating the Bears 23-10 in Green Bay on Thursday
Where they rank: No. 23 on offense (tied for 26th rushing, tied for 14th passing); No. 5 on defense (26th rushing, 2nd passing)
Series: Packers lead 8-5, including four wins in the past five meetings; this is only the fifth time they’ve played in Seattle, where the series is tied 2-2
Star power: Aaron Rodgers. As much as we chuckle at those discount-double-check TV commercials, Rodgers real appeal is for what he’s done on the field. He was voted league MVP last season after setting an NFL record for passer rating (122.5) and franchise records for TD passes (45), passing yards (4,643), completion percentage (.683) and 300-yard passing games (eight). And this franchise did have a guy named Brett Favre at quarterback from 1992-2007. This season, Rodgers’ numbers are less gaudy after two games: 52 of 76 for 522 yards, with three TDs and two interceptions, for a passer rating of 89.9 – which ranks 17th in the league.
Unsung hero: Charles Woodson. How can a guy who’s in his 15th NFL season and has been to eight Pro Bowls be unsung? Woodson has moved to strong safety in the Packers’ base defense, and still plays as the slot corner in the nickel and other sub-packages. This after being voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, when he shared the league lead with seven interceptions. Woodson got his 55th career interception last week against the Bears and in the opener he played in his 200th career game. Nine of his career 11 interception returns for touchdowns have come since joining the Packers in 2006, and the total ties him for second all-time with Darren Sharper – one behind Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
On the spot: The offensive line. Rodgers has been sacked eight times, a pace that will produce 64 for the season – after he went down 36 times last season. And it’s a new-look line, not just since the Seahawks last faced the Packers in 2009 but from last year’s 15-1 season. Ex-Colt Jeff Saturday is at center for Scott Wells in his first season with the Packers and Marshall Newhouse is at left tackle for Chad Clifton. Monday night, they’ll have to deal with the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field as well as a Seahawks’ pass rush that has been better than its two sacks would indicate.
Burning question: Who steps up to stop the run? This just in, the Seahawks want to run the ball. Last week, Marshawn Lynch did it 26 times for 122 yards – 100 in the second half – and the Seahawks had 182 against a Dallas defense that ranked No. 7 against the run last season and allowed the defending Super Bowl champion Giants 82 rushing yards in the season opener. The Packers are allowing averages of 140 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry.
Numbers to know: 6, the number of sacks Clay Matthews has, twice as many as the next-highest total in the league; and 53, the number of wins the Packers have in their road openers, which is the most in NFL history.
Familiar faces: There’s only one player – backup offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, who was on the Seahawks’ roster for a few weeks in 2010. But assistant head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss played linebacker for the Seahawks from 1995-97 and started his coaching career as a quality control coach with the Seahawks in 1998. General manager Ted Thompson was the Seahawks’ vice president of football operations from 2000-04. Director of football operations John Dorsey was the Seahawks’ director of player personnel in 1999. Assistant director of pro personnel Tim Terry played linebacker for the Seahawks from 2000-02.
The last word: “He’s short but he’s fast, very fast, and it is hard to defend a running quarterback. When you run, you open up more lanes, more opportunities.” – Packers defensive end C.J. Wilson to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when asked about Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson
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