In a rematch of last season’s thrilling NFC Championship, the Green Bay Packers look to remain undefeated against the hurting Seattle Seahawks in Week 2’s "Sunday Night Football" contest at Lambeau Field.
Seattle’s taken the last three meetings between the conference’s perennial powers, including last year’s wild title game that required overtime, but enter the match up 0-1 after a dreadful showing against St. Louis to start the season. The Seahawks are hoping to avoid their first 0-2 record under head coach Pete Carroll since 2011.
The Packers are coming off a convincing 31-23 victory over rival Chicago but do have some kinks to work out, the rushing defense in particular, before hosting Seattle’s power-running game. Green Bay’s also looking for its first 2-0 start since 2011, when it didn’t suffer a defeat until Week 15.
In a highly uncharacteristic performance from one of the league’s historically dominant defenses, one that many have linked to the absence of safety Kam Chancellor over a contract holdout, the Seahawks endured a 34-31 overtime loss to the NFC West rival Rams. They let up 352 total yards, nearly 100 more than the 267.1 per game the Seahawks let up last year, and allowed St. Louis to convert six of its 11 third down plays, compared to a 37.1 rate in 2014.
Still, Seattle’s pass rush remained effective with two sacks, and the defense forced four St. Louis fumbles and recovered three of them.
Seattle’s offense and quarterback Russell Wilson also struggled for long stretches. Wilson went 32-for-41 for 251 yards, a score, and a pick, but he didn’t complete the touchdown strike to tight end Jimmy Graham until early in the fourth quarter to give Seattle a slim 24-21 lead.
The Seahawks very young offensive line also struggled against the vaunted Rams pass rush, surrendering six sacks and nine quarterback hits.
However, even with Wilson setting a new career-high for pass attempts in a single game, the Seahawks bread-and-butter rushing attack looked sharp. Running back Marshawn Lynch notched 73 of Seattle’s 124 total yards on the ground, and Wilson chipped in another 31, though Seattle couldn’t break into the end zone.
With Seattle’s ground game itching to reach pay dirt, it could spell trouble for a Packers defense that gave up 189 rushing yards and a touchdown to the Bears. Despite the win, the poor work against the run follows Green Bay’s struggles last season when it was No. 23 in the league with 119.9 rushing yards allowed per contest.
But the Packers offense and quarterback Aaron Rodgers stayed true to form and lit up the Bears. The reigning league MVP went 18-for-23 for 189 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Eddie Lacy ran down 85 of the Packers 133 rushing yards.
Green Bay also turned to a familiar face in veteran receiver James Jones. With No.1 wide out Jordy Nelson out for the year and Randall Cobb limited by a shoulder injury, Jones returned to Green Bay after a one-year stint with Oakland and caught four balls for 51 yards and two touchdowns less than a week after the Packers re-signed him to the roster.
Betting Odds: Green Bay -3.5
Over/Under: 48.5 points
Prediction: Green Bay over Seattle, 20-17