SEATTLE — The Seahawks will have everyone’s attention Monday night.
A franchise that seems so often overlooked here in the upper left-hand corner of the country will be hosting the Green Bay Packers on that one day of the week that means a little bit more on the NFL schedule.
“It’s a special night each week in the league that everybody loves,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Everybody in the league has played and they’re done and you’re the last one’s up.”
CenturyLink Field will be center stage tonight, and the Seahawks will have a chance to make a statement against the Packers, who won the Super Bowl two seasons ago and went 15-1 last season. Seattle’s victory over Dallas in Week 2 got the Seahawks noticed nationally, but this one against the Packers is the kind of game where the Seahawks can make a statement.
“There is no reason not to go for it,” Carroll said. “We’re going to try everything we can to get a win and make the most of this chance.”
It’s hard to remember the last time a regular-season game in Seattle stirred up this kind of excitement and expectation. The Seahawks made the playoffs with a prime-time victory over St. Louis in Week 17 two seasons ago, but that was a game between two teams with losing records and the Seahawks had been in a tailspin. You have to go back to Week 3 in 2006, when the Seahawks hosted the New York Giants and Fox brought its studio crew to town for what turned out to be a Seahawks rout.
That was when Seattle was coming off its Super Bowl appearance. This is a Seahawks team that is still trying figure out how good it can be this season.
The Seahawks believe rookie quarterback Russell Wilson can be very special, and he’s backed up by a defense that’s making a name for itself.
The Packers are not a measuring stick, they’re a bona fide contender with the league’s reigning MVP in quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the controls of one of the league’s most aggressive passing attacks.
“They’re a vertical team with a lot of personnel,” safety Earl Thomas said. “They have a lot of fire power.”
Now, it’s time to check the caliber not just of Seattle’s defense, but of the Seahawks’ passing game. Seattle averaged a league-low 136 yards passing over the first two weeks, and attempted only 20 throws in Week 2.
“Last week against Dallas, we didn’t need to take that many shots,” receiver Sidney Rice said. “We got up early. We had an excellent game plan, the run game was going well, and we just rolled with it.”
That victory gave Seattle a running start into this week. It eased the sense of desperation spawned by the season-opening loss in Arizona.
Instead of trying to fight out of a hole, Seattle found its footing and stands at 1-1 with a chance to show it can contend.
Win this game and Seattle is 2-1 with victories over two significant offenses in the league. Lose and the Seahawks are 1-2 heading into a stretch in which they play four of five games on the road.
No hiding from the implications of this game, especially not with the rest of the country watching.