The 2014 NFL season is now just two days away from it's curtain raiser between the Green Bay Packers and reigning Superbowl Champs the Seattle Seahawks.
With the excitement building we take a look at the top five marquee match-ups in Week One.
Starting the season off with a bang
Green Bay at Seattle, Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Seattle is basically unbeatable at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks have gone 17-1 at home in the past two seasons, with the only loss coming last year to the Arizona Cardinals.
Aaron Rodgers will hope to take the Packers aerial attack against the best secondary in the league. Green Bay suffered a crushing blow in the preseason in losing run stopper B.J. Raji for the season to injury.
They added Julius Peppers opposite Clay Mathews both of whom will try and get after Russel Wilson Thursday night, who was basically unstoppable in preseason.
Wilson went 33 of 42 for for 437 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, running for three touchdowns too. Wilson led the Seahawks to scoring drives on 11 of his 13 drives.
With the improved offense under Wilson and the already proven defense, it's hard to pick against Seattle to repeat, and they will start that quest Thursday night in what should be the loudest stadium of all time in terms of decibel levels.
Green Bay will have some motivation too, with the last trip in Seattle being the "fail mary" game in 2012 in which the replacement officials incorrectly gave Seattle a touchdown on the game's final play and give the Seahawks victory.
Cincinnati at Baltimore, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
A divisional rivalry to start off the season for these two AFC North foes. The matchup pits the last two AFC North champions, and the Ravens will look to bounce back off a disappointing 2013 campaign a year removed from the Super Bowl. The home team holds an advantage in this one, winning eight of the last 11 meetings. The Bengals have made the postseason the last three years and have nothing to show for it.
Last year's matchup in Baltimore had A.J. Green catch a hail mary attempt at the end of regulation to force overtime, this one should be a tightly contested contest as well.
Indianapolis at Denver, Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET
A Sunday night game and Peyton Manning faces off against his former team for the second time in his career. He'll look to change fortunes this time around, losing against his former team last year in Indy 39-33 - one of only three regular season losses for the Broncos. The Broncos have a revamped defense, and a few different pieces on offense with Emmanuel Sanders at wideout replacing Eric Decker, and Montee Ball taking over the running back reigns with Knoshown Moreno's departure to the Dolphins.
The Colts added a weapon themselves at wideout in Hakeem Nicks and hope year two with Trent Richardson goes a lot smoother than the first.
This one should be a shootout under the lights in Denver.
San Francisco at Dallas, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
This matchup is thrown in there due to the rich tradition of each franchise and the hopes heading into 2014. San Francisco has been as close as anybody the past three years to a Super Bowl, making the NFC Championship three straight years, and losing a heartbreaker in the Super Bowl to the Ravens in the 2012-2013 season. Dallas has been the king of mediocrity the past two seasons, going 8-8 each year, and over the past 17 years, have one playoff victory to show for themselves.
Neither team seemed to have significantly improve in the off or preseason, rather most likely taken a step back with suspensions and injuries.
New England at Miami, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
There were quite a few games that could've been placed in the fifth spot here, but this one edged out the others. There's been talk that Miami can finally challenge the Patriots for the AFC East division crown, being the only team to win the division other than the Patriots since 2002. Ryan Tannehill enters his third season and has a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor. Knoshown Moreno enters into the fold in the running game and the defense improved its secondary in the offseason by adding Cortland Finnegan and Louis Delmas. The Patriots also made a few additions in its secondary, with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.
New England struggles down in Miami with Tom Brady under center, going 6-6 in his career in South Florida.
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