<
>

Packers, Seahawks bring demons into Week 2 showdown at Lambeau

This game could have opened the NFL season had the Seattle Seahawks not blown the Super Bowl. Don't expect any sympathy from the Green Bay Packers, who blew the NFC Championship Game to allow the Seahawks to get to that Super Bowl.

The two teams meet eight months later at Lambeau Field in one of the most anticipated games of the year.

ESPN reporters Rob Demovsky (Packers) and Sheil Kapadia (Seahawks) discuss the rematch:

Rob Demovsky: The Packers can deny all they want that the collapse in the NFC title game last year against the Seahawks is in the past and that this is a new season, a new team, a new blah blah blah, but that game still gets brought up around here a lot and you know it still hurts. The way Seattle lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl has to be just as bad, if not worse. Are the Seahawks pulling the same kind of "new season, new opportunity" nonsense as the Packers?

Sheil Kapadia: Of course they are. It's the NFL way: deny, deny, deny. They even went to Hawaii and threw the devastating loss over a cliff. It appears, however, that Marshawn Lynch's mom was not invited on that team-building trip because she took to social media after the Seahawks' Week 1 loss and called for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to be fired. Please remind me not to follow this lead when my child starts soccer next year.

Anyway, given that it is a new year, what did you learn about the Packers in Week 1?

RD: That their run defense still stinks. OK, that may be a little harsh. It wasn't the worst performance by a run defense on the opening weekend; the Minnesota Vikings were actually worse. But they were the only ones. The Packers gave up 189 yards rushing to the Chicago Bears, so Lynch has to be salivating over the chance to play at Lambeau Field on Sunday. But hey, at least their special teams looked better. I mean, they didn't botch an onside kick recovery in Sunday's opener like they did in the NFC title game.

What about you? What did the Seahawks show you in the opener?

SK: Not to get gross with the salivating theme, but yeah, the whole drool thing applies to Aaron Rodgers as well. I know that sounds weird to say considering the reputation of the Seahawks' secondary, but it was pretty ugly against the St. Louis Rams. Nick Foles became the only quarterback to complete at least 65 percent of his passes and average at least 11.0 YPA against the Seahawks since Pete Carroll became the head coach. That was with the Rams missing their top two running backs and a starting wide receiver. Safety Dion Bailey struggled in his first game as Kam Chancellor's replacement, and there were definitely communication mishaps throughout. Going up against Rodgers and that passing attack does not seem like a great recipe to get back on track.

Speaking of which, how are the Packers making up for Jordy Nelson's absence?

RD: Well, for one game, anyway, James Jones sure looked pretty good if you think two touchdown catches is any good. But seriously, you can't expect Jones -- or anyone else really -- to make up for Nelson. I watched the Packers chew up nearly 10 minutes of clock on a 78-yard touchdown drive against the Bears. That's how they're making up for it -- by grinding it out. I'll be curious, though, to see if they can do that against a good defense.

So who's going to blink first in the Chancellor staredown?

SK: Congrats, Rob. You are the 10,000th person to ask me that question in the past two weeks. Your prize is a Marshawn Lynch T-shirt. The way I see it, the Chancellor situation will go one of three ways: (1) he'll grow tired of giving up $267,647 each week, wake up one day and decide to show up; (2) he'll continue to give up game checks and arrive in time for the last six games so that this year of his contract gets counted; (3) The Seahawks will realize they need him and give in a little more. That's part of what makes this game so interesting. If the Packers light up the Seahawks' defense and Bailey struggles again at strong safety, do they change their stance at all to get Chancellor to show up? That could be the question come Monday morning.

Given the way the defense played in Week 1 without Chancellor, it seems the Seahawks will need the offense to put up points to win this game. I'd expect a pretty heavy dose of Jimmy Graham after he came on in the second half against the Rams. How do you think the Packers will match up with Graham, especially now that they're down a linebacker?

RD: Well, they actually did a decent job on Graham last year when they played him with the New Orleans Saints. He only caught five passes for 59 yards, although his 22-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter pretty much sealed the victory. Given the state of their run defense, I'd say Graham might be the least of their concerns.