The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks line up for the season opener Sept. 4. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Lombardiave Q&A with 12th Man: What's up with the Seattle Seahawks?

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to exchange questions and get the impressions from 12thman.com’s editor Mitch Quesada about tonight’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

With so much riding on the outcome of tonight’s game, we focused our questions on who might make a difference for the Seahawks and what factors could lead to either a Packers or Seahawks win.

We also put Mitch on the hotseat and asked him for the winner and the final score. His reply probably won’t surprise you.

Here’s our exchange:

1. The Seahawks are the world champs playing at home Thursday night with the 12th Man at their back. What concerns you most about defending the title right away against the Green Bay Packers?
A. Probably the fact that the Packers are so good. They are an experienced team with an experienced leader and they know how to win on the road. They won’t be star-struck playing against the defending Super Bowl champs meaning they probably won’t make too many mistakes early like young teams might. Both teams will be playing at a high level so the Seahawks won’t get to ease into the season they will be hitting the ground running. I respect Aaron Rodgers as a player but hate playing against him because he is so darn good. Very few quarterbacks have a chance to expose the Legion of Boom but, unfortunately for the Seahawks, Rodgers might be one of them.
2. The Seahawks defense is the best in the league, bar none. With the new rules in place that home in on the defensive backs, will that affect the Seahawks’ defensive philosophy?
A. I don’t think it will affect the Seahawks at all. The hit first, ask questions later defense was actually one of the fewest penalized in the preseason when it came to flags dealing with the new rule change. Seattle is still one of the best coverage teams in the league and they have remained fairly disciplined the past few seasons so I don’t expect there to be an immediate problem with the expanded penalties.
3. We know the Seahawks pretty well, but tell us about a player who we don’t know much about.
A. Paul Richardson is a guy to keep your eyes on. The rookie from Colorado had an impressive preseason and could get some targets in the slot. We might also see him return a few kickoffs and that’s when everyone will see the speed the youngster has. Many scouts have compared him to Percy Harvin, with a similar body-type and similar speedy playing style. He also has great hands and agility. Last season, at Colorado, he recorded 83 catches for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns. He won’t have nearly those stats this season but as the season progresses, the Seahawks will be calling his number more and more often.
4. Give us three things the Seahawks must do to guarantee a victory over the Packers.
A. The Seahawks need to stop the run, get their own run game going and not let the adrenaline of the moment get to them. Seattle has been known to give up big yards to good run teams before and I think Eddie Lacy is underrated enough that he has the opportunity to have a breakout game against the league’s best defense. Seattle cannot afford to let that happen, especially when the secondary already has to deal with Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. The Seahawks also need to get their own run game going to keep the Packers defense guessing. Seattle has a Russell Wilson-Percy Harvin connection ready to show off and it will be easier to do that if the defense tries to focus solely on Marshawn Lynch and the dominant run game. And finally, Seattle just needs to relax and enjoy the moment, like they did in the Super Bowl. It’s a big opening night game on a big stage so the nerves and adrenaline will be high, but if they can control that they should beat the Packers Thursday night.
5. Give us your game prediction – and don’t forget a final score.
A. The Packers are going to put up a fight and I expect them to win the NFC North, meaning this could be a possible playoff preview. Still, I can’t see the Seahawks losing at home in a primetime game.
I’ve got the Seahawks winning, 31-20.
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