The Green Bay Packers start their 2015 season in Chicago, but there may be more buzz reserved for Week 2.
That’s when the Packers open their home schedule with a whopper of a matchup. The rematch of last season’s NFC title game against the Seattle Seahawks will be a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Sept. 20 at Lambeau Field and televised on NBC.
The Packers were five minutes from a berth in Super Bowl XLIX, leading the Seahawks 19-7 late in the fourth quarter in January. Then, they imploded. Mistake after mistake paved the way to a devastating 28-22 overtime loss.
The shock lingered through the offseason. In a primetime rematch, the Packers will get a chance to move past the pain of last season, if only partially.
Three things to know about the Seahawks
•1. Spread the bitterness: Packers fans had plenty of reason to be bitter the past several months, but they weren’t alone. As far as devastating losses go, it doesn’t get much worse than Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks were 1 yard from a potential game-winning touchdown in the game’s final seconds, but quarterback Russell Wilson threw an interception in the end zone. It’s worth remembering the Packers won’t be the only NFC team on a mission this season.
•2. They’re offensive: The Seahawks’ defense rightfully gets the credit for the franchise’s run to consecutive Super Bowls, but their offense is no slouch. The Seahawks ranked 10th in the NFL with 24.6 points per game last season, and ninth with 375.8 yards per game. It was the first time under Carroll the Seahawks had a top-10 offense in both categories. The Seahawks’ offense only got better this offseason when they traded for Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. So while the defense is expected to once again be the league’s best, it’ll get plenty of help on the other side of the ball.
•3. Postseason ramifications: When the Packers opened last season at the Seahawks, it seemed silly to consider potential playoff ramifications. It was just one game in September. Fifteen would follow. With both teams finishing the regular season 12-4, the Seahawks’ win in the opener determined where the NFC title game would be played. Coaches often use the cliché of no game being more important than the other, but that’s just not true. The NFC could once again be a two-team race between the Packers and Seahawks, and there’s a real possibility Week 2 could have Super Bowl consequences.
Packers schedule glimpse
Week before: Season opener at Bears, Sept. 13
Week after: “Monday Night Football” home against Chiefs, Sept. 28
On the horizon: at 49ers, Oct. 4
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood.
Coach: Pete Carroll (80-50, sixth season).
2014 record: 12-4, first NFC West.
Scoring offense: 24.6 points per game (10th in NFL).
Total offense: 375.8 yards per game (9th).
Scoring defense: 15.9 points allowed per game (1st).
Total defense: 267.1 yards allowed per game (1st).
Series: Packers lead 10-8 (2-1 in postseason).
Last meeting: The Packers blew a two-possession lead late in the NFC title game’s fourth quarter, falling agonizingly short of Super Bowl XLIX. From the start, the Packers outplayed the Seahawks, jumping to a 16-0 halftime lead. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers played on an injured left calf, completing 19-of-34 passes for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Rodgers was able to lead the Packers to a game-tying field goal in the final seconds before the Seahawks won in overtime.