Football / Sports

Dan Caesar's Thursday night NFL pick

Time: 8:30 p.m. EDT

TV: NBC

Line: Seahawks by 6

Synopsis: A fine matchup to kick off the season, as defensive-minded Seattle begins its quest to repeat its NFL championship by facing the offensive-minded Packers, led by QB Aaron Rodger. Plus, WR Randall Cobb is back after missing a good chunk of last season because of a broken leg. But the Seahawks have the best "D" in the NFL and are 9-1 in prime-time regular-season games under coach Pete Carroll. Green Bay has boosted its defense by adding end Julius Peppers and revamping the secondary. But Seattle QB Russell Wilson has been getting rave reviews this summer for lifting his play as he heads into his third NFL season, and RB Marshawn Lynch will be counted on to control the offense again.

Bottom line/pick: This game marks the 13th consecutive season the NFL kicks off its season with a midweek contest, and the home team is 10-2 in the previous weeknight openers and has won 10 of the last 11. The defending Super Bowl champion has played in the last 10 prime-time openers, nine times at home, and has won by an average margin of 10 points when it was at home. The only loss came last year, when the Ravens were forced on the road because of a scheduling conflict in Baltimore and fell in Denver. But Seattle is at home Thursday, and it would be foolish to ignore a trend this strong -- especially with Seattle having been dominant in its stadium in recent years and the crowd set to be at fever pitch with all the festivities.

SEAHAWKS 27, PACKERS 20.

(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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