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Seattle Slew: Defense, center keys to victory for Green Bay

GB WR Jordy Nelson will have his number called a lot this season.
GB WR Jordy Nelson will have his number called a lot this season.
Photo by John Konstantaras/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks may be the defending Super Bowl champs.

Job No.1 for the Green Bay Packer O-line: Keep No. 12 vertical so that he can do his think. The Pack opens the 2014 NFL season in Seattle against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

They may be playing in front of the '12th man' at CenturyLink Field.

But the Green Bay Packers are definitely the center of attention in this NFL opener.

And it is the center position that most eyes will be trained on in the Emerald City on Thursday night.

The packed house and a nationally televised audience on NBC will pay close attention to the exchanges between quarterback Aaron Rodgers and rookie snapper, Corey Linsley.

The 6-3, 301-pounder from Ohio State has yet to get the ball to Rodgers during game conditions.

Linsley was thrust into the spotlight when JC Tretter sustained an injury in the third preseason game.

Tretter was the heir apparent when Evan Dietrich-Smith opted to leave during free agency.

It is supposed to be an afterthought.

The snap back to the quarterback whether under center or from the shotgun formation should become so routine as to become second nature.

There was precious little time to get into a comfort zone between the two since A-Rod played so little in this run-up.

The boisterous crowd will dictate a lot of silent counts and head nods.

The Packers miraculously won the NFC North despite losing their best player for seven games.

The rest of the scrutiny may well fall on the new and improved Packer 'D.'

GM Ted Thompson has been nothing short of myopic when it comes to drafting on that side of the ball.

TT realizes that the window may be closing just a bit and he wants to give his Rodgers-led offensive juggernaut a better chance by shutting down foes with a solid defense.

Eddie Lacy and the re-emphasis on the running game is another piece to that puzzle.

As with all sports at all levels, health is always a huge factor.

As long as the injuries don't hit key positions in bunches, the Packers are poised to be among the leaders all year and have a chance to be at the top of the heap of the ashes in Phoenix (er, Glendale), Arizona come February.

The addition of Julius Peppers to go with Clay Matthews should provide a fair amount of migraines to the opponents' offensive coordinators.

While it's difficult to predict, it's a safe bet that there will be an interception from the safety position.

Micah Hyde, No. 1 draftee Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and host of others will get their chance at this now-deep roster spot.

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