Green Bay (8-7-1) at Seattle (13-3), 8:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

The hunter is NOW the hunted.

They meet again and the last time they met, there was some MAJOR controversy. Green Bay and Seattle meet again in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks to open the 2014 NFL regular season. The Seahawks are the defending Super Bowl champions, having taken Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to the woodshed in Super Bowl 48 in the Meadowlands last January.

For those that just walked in, here’s what happened the last time these two teams met. It was Week 3 of the 2012 season and the Seahawks were hosting Green Bay on Monday night in Seattle. Seatle trailed 12-7 late in the contest and the Packers thought they had things in hand when WR Golden Tate and then-rookie QB Russell Wilson hooked up as the clock struck :00 on a controversial pass play that involved replacement officials. After the play was reviewed, the Seahawks came away with the 14-12 win and needless to say, there were some very angry Packers fans (very angry indeed… apologies to Marvin Martin!). The next week, the regular zebras returned to action.

In that contest, neither contest did well on third down tries (Green Bay was 7 of 15, Seattle was 1 of 11) and RB Marshawn Lynch led all rushers with 98 yards (the Seahawks ran for 127, while holding Green Bay to 84).

Fast forward to last year…

Seattle led Denver from start to finish against Denver in Super Bowl 48, taking a 22-0 lead into the locker room with them at half and crusing to a 43-8 win over the Broncos, holding the AFC champions to 27 yards on the ground and forcing a pair of interceptions in the win. Manning did manage to outpace the younger Wilson in passing yardage 280 to 206 but the Broncos were outscored 21-8 in the final 30 minutes of play. Seattle was 7 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the pigskin for 31:53, while the Broncos were 6 of 13 (0 of 3 on fourth down), holding the ball for 28:07.

The Packers managed to win the NFC North on the last day of the regular season, beating Da Bears in the Windy City 33-28. Green Bay scored the game-winner with 38 seconds left when Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb connected on a 48-yard TD pass, erasing a 28-27 deficit. Green Bay would then host San Francisco in the first round of the NFC Wild Card playoffs and they would trail 13-10 at the half, losing to the 49ers 23-20 on the near-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

This time, they meet again and it couldn’t be any better. Thursday night. The first game on the docket. The hunter is NOW the hunted. Seattle opens at home on the West Coast in a prime time contest that pits two playoff teams from the 2013 campaign.

Green Bay leads the series 8-6 and have outscored the Seahawks 364-288, with the last Packer win in the series coming in 2009 at Lambeau by a 48-10 final. As far as the coaches, McCarthy against Seattle is 3-2, while Pete Carroll against the Packers is 1-2.

The Packers have won NFC North in each of past 3 years…QB Aaron Rodgers had 104.9 rating in 2013 & is only QB in NFL history with 5 consecutive seasons with 100+ rating, has 104.9 career rating, highest in NFL history. Is 4-0 as starter on Thursdays with 115.6 rating… Pro Bowl RB Eddie Lacy was 2013 Offensive Rookie of Year. Set franchise rookie records with 1,178 rush yards & 11 rush TDs… WR Jordy Nelson had career-high 85 catches & 1,314 yards last year. WR-PR-KR Randall Cobb & Hall of Famer Gale Sayers are only 2 in NFL history with 60+ yard run, 60+ yard catch, 100+ yard KR & 80+ yard PR in 1st 3 seasons…LB A.J. HAWK led team with 118 tackles. LB Clay Matthews has 50 sacks in 69 career games. Since entering NFL in 2002, LB JULIUS PEPPERS is 2nd in NFL with 118.5 sacks. Since 2010 (including playoffs), CB Tramon Williams ranks 3rd in NFL with 19 INTs & CB SAM SHIELDS is tied for 4th with 17 INTs…

Meanwhile, the Seahawks won 1st Super Bowl in team history and Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson had 101.2 rating last year & is only QB with 100+ rating in rookie & 2nd season. 1 of 4 QBs to win SB in 1st or 2nd season. Including the playoffs, Wilson has 28 wins in 1st 2 years, most ever. Pro Bowl RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 1,257 yards & 12 TDs last year, his 3rd season in row with 1,200+ yards & 10+ TDs. Is only NFL player to rush for 1,000+ yards & 10+ TDs in each of past 3 seasons… Seahawks led NFL in 2013 with 39 takeaways, 28 INTs & +20 turnover diff. Seattle was 1st in NFL in points allowed (231), total defense (273.6) & pass defense (172)…Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman led NFL with 8 INTs, 1st Seahawk to lead NFL in INTs since 1993. Since entering NFL in 2011, leads NFL with 20 INTs. Pro Bowl S Earl Thomas was 1 of 2 in NFL with 100+ tackles (100), 5+ INTs (5) & 2+ FFs (2) and is the only safety in past decade with 100+ tackles, 5+ INTs & 2+ FFs in season. Pro Bowl S Kam Chancellor had 93 tackles, his 3rd season in row with 90+ tackles.

Two of the top teams in the NFC squaring off. First game of the season. For this one to not be “Drill” worthy would be like telling Bugs Bunny not to eat carrots. Having said that, here’s how it works (for those that already know, you’re excused… the rest of you pay attention! We don’t want rookie mistakes this early in the season) and because it’s a Thursday game, we’re going to modify things some.

After work, head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al…) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? We discussed her earlier. She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 56 and dates a 41-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Seattle is favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under is 46. (For those of you wondering what the over/under is, that’s the total number of points that both teams are expected to score combined in the contest.) First game of the season. Packers have a score to settle. Seahawks are celebrating their first Super Bowl win in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. 5 1/2’s a bit much, given the history between these two teams. Cheese, bratwurst and beer meet salmon and Starbucks. Seattle wins this one but they might not cover the 5 1/2.

BROADCAST: NBC at 8:30 p.m.: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Mark Malone (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood 1), 92 (Green Bay), 93 (Seattle). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 226 (Green Bay), 225 (Seattle).

Injury Report

Green Bay

OUT: TE Brandon Bostick (fibula), CB Demetri Goodson (concussion), C J.C. Tretter (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Brad Jones (quadricep)


OUT: TE Cooper Helfet (knee), C Lemuel Jeanpierre (neck), RB Christine Michael (hamstring), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring), CB Tharold Simon (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Bruce Irvin (hip), CB Jeremy Lane (groin), WR Kevin Norwood (ankle)

Game time Weather – Sunny and 74 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, Weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.