(Reuters) - Four months after the Seattle Seahawks routed the Green Bay Packers in the NFL’s season opener, the NFC powerhouses will go at it again, this time with a Super Bowl berth at stake.
The Packers will leave the comforts of their home stadium, where they went undefeated this season, for a visit to hostile CenturyLink Field where the famous “12th Man” will be in full roar for Sunday’s conference final.
Seattle romped to a 36-16 home win over Green Bay last September and now find the Packers standing in the way of their quest to become the first team to claim back-to-back Super Bowl titles since the New England Patriots did it a decade ago.
“It’s exciting but the job’s not done,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who is 2-0 in his career against the Packers. “We’re on one mission. You just have to take it one game at a time.”
If the Packers are to return to the Super Bowl for the second time in four years they will have to find a way to win in Seattle where the favored Seahawks are 8-1 this season and won eight consecutive home playoff games.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, hobbled by a calf injury that has limited his mobility, will face a ferocious Seattle defense that led the NFL in fewest points allowed per game, total defense and pass defense.
Even with one of the NFL’s most explosive attacks and a lineup loaded with game breakers and a Pro Bowl quarterback, Green Bay will not want to fall behind.
Seattle is riding a seven-game winning streak that dates back to the regular season and in doing so have displayed a lethal knockout punch by outscoring opponents 102-20 in the second half of the game and 62-7 in the fourth quarter.
“We’re going to have to be efficient against them,” said Rodgers about facing Seattle’s defense. “They’re a great defense, they’ve got Pro Bowlers all over the place and they’re well-coached.”
Statistically Rodgers looked like his normal dominating self in last week’s divisional playoff versus Dallas as he passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns in a come-from-behind 26-21 win.
But Rodgers limped his way through much of that game and all eyes will once again be on his injured calf.
“We understand the job’s not done,” said Green Bay guard T.J. Lang. “Our expectation is to win a championship.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue