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Meeting with Seahawks ‘a good test’ for Packers

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Center Corey Linsley went so far as to label it “a big game,” as he alluded to the stature of the opponent in recent years.

Otherwise, per head coach Mike McCarthy’s marching orders, the Packers aren’t getting ahead of themselves by talking about just how big their Sunday night matchup with the Seattle Seahawks really means to them.

“It’s the second game of the year,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday. “It’s a long season. We’re one game in.”

Still, Rodgers, in turn, acknowledged in so many words what a victory over the team that has been a thorn in Green Bay’s collective side the last three years could mean for the big picture of the Packers’ season.

“Your identity as a team is formed throughout the year,” Rodgers said. “You’ve just got to look at it as game two. Every one’s important, especially with a conference opponent who is a talented team. But, yeah, we’ve got to take care of business at home.”

And, playing at Lambeau Field, where the Packers will play their home opener fresh off a Week 1 knockout of the rebuilding Chicago Bears on the road, is where Rodgers’ star shines brightest.

Go beyond the 6-1 record the Packers have in home openers started by Rodgers since 2008 and the 300-plus passing yards he’s put up in each of the last four first games at Lambeau.

The NFL’s reigning MVP hasn’t thrown an interception in a home game since Dec. 2, 2012. Counting the playoffs, that’s a staggering streak of 512 passes without a pick, during which he has 41 touchdown throws.

Yet, just about the only thing on many inquiring minds among the Wisconsin media corps Wednesday was whether the Packers have still been dwelling on what transpired eight months ago. As if the majority of the team needed to be reminded about how it coughed up a 19-7 lead with less than three minutes left in regulation and lost 28-22 in overtime to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game.

“I can assure you, it’s not something that’s talked about much,” veteran linebacker Clay Matthews said. “I know it’s media driven. It started last Sunday with the (TV) promos and everything. But, ultimately, this is just the second game of the season. … It’s not as if we win this game all is forgotten.”

What a win Sunday would do in a different venue after Green Bay lost three straight games to the Seahawks in Seattle going back to the controversial “Fail Mary” ending in 2012 is give Green Bay a trump card for possibly down the road.

The Seahawks, as the two-time reigning NFC champions, already are on a slippery slope after losing their season opener at the St. Louis Rams. Beset by injuries and the ongoing holdout by All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor, falling to 0-2 as the banged-up Packers go to 2-0 could prove to be pivotal for what becomes of the NFC landscape the rest of the season.

“It should be a fun game,” Matthews said. “I know it’s what the fans are looking for, and it’s a good test to see where we’re at (and) where they’re at early on.

“We hope (the fans) show up and give us that home-field advantage that Seattle’s benefited from so much over the years.”

As for the last time these teams met, don’t bother asking.

“I’m not talking about last year,” Packers linebacker Julius Peppers barked. “Y’all can direct those questions to the other guys. I’m strictly talking about the game this week.”

SERIES HISTORY: 16th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 8-7. The interdivision foes meet for the third time in a little more than a year. The Seahawks swept what turned out to be a two-game series last season, running away to a 36-16 home victory in Week 1 and then stunning Green Bay on its return visit to Seattle in January with a 28-22 overtime win in the NFC Championship Game. The Seahawks have prevailed in the last three meetings, matching the longest winning streak by either team in their infrequent matchups since 1976. This is the first game at Green Bay since the Packers rolled to a 48-10 win in 2009. The Packers are 6-1 against Seattle in games played at Lambeau Field, including postseason victories of 33-27 in overtime during a wild-card game in the 2003 season and 42-20 during a divisional-round contest in the 2007 season.

INJURY NOTES

–ILB Sam Barrington was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. The second-year starter aggravated an injury to his right foot in the first half of the season-opening 31-23 win at the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Third-year pro Nate Palmer will replace Barrington in the starting lineup, beginning with Green Bay’s home opener Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

–SS Morgan Burnett was back on the field Wednesday. The veteran starter had been sidelined since suffering a calf injury the final week of the preseason. Burnett practiced in limited fashion Wednesday. His status for playing Sunday night against Seattle won’t be known until later in the week. Micah Hyde manned Burnett’s spot in the season-opening win at Chicago last Sunday.

–WR Randall Cobb practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Cobb managed to play the full game in Sunday’s season-opening victory at Chicago after suffering a sprained shoulder late in the preseason. The veteran starter should be OK to play Sunday night against the Seahawks.

–OLB Jayrone Elliott is on the injury report this week with a quadriceps injury. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday after playing the season opener at Chicago on Sunday.


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