Smart Guys: How we're picking Thursday's game
Seahawks 23, Packers 20
Come January, this matchup could be the two best teams in the NFC and preview of a playoff game. The Packers have a mostly veteran offense to handle the din at CenturyLink Field, though starting rookie Corey Linsley at center will be tough. Still, the Seahawks are an outstanding defensive team, and the huge home-field edge, which enhances the Seahawks' pass rush, will prevail.
Seahawks 27, Packers 24
The Packers are built to contend, but it's not easy to beat the Seahawks on their soil. Seattle is 17-1 at CenturyLink Field over the past two seasons and its defense thrives off the noise pollution. If the Packers can attack the secondary early, they have a chance to pull the upset. While the Packers likely will show well on offense and defense, Seattle does just enough to escape with the home victory.
Seahawks 27, Packers 21
The Packers face an almost impossible environment when the NFL season opens. Seattle fans, among the loudest and most intense in the league, will be buzzing from the unveiling of the championship banner. With a rookie center operating the no-huddle, and a remodeled defense playing its first game, Green Bay will keep it close. Ultimately, it's too much to expect the Packers to leave the West Coast with a win.
Seahawks 24, Packers 20
The Packers' chances of pulling off an upset in their opener against the defending Super Bowl champions diminished when center JC Tretter and nose tackle B.J. Raji went down with injuries. With the cornerstones of their offensive and defensive lines sidelined, the Packers will have trouble keeping Aaron Rodgers protected and Marshawn Lynch contained. But they'll keep it closer than the 5.5-point spread.