Aaron Rodgers. Jordy Nelson. Randall Cobb. Eddy Lacy. Josh Sitton.
Where to begin when dealing with the Green Bay Packers' offense that will be at CenturyLink Field on Sunday for the NFC Championship game?
With the Seahawks' defense.
The Packers have Rodgers, the All-Pro quarterback. But the Seahawks have All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas. The Packers have Nelson and Cobb, a couple of 90-plus catch wide receivers. But the Seahawks have the All-Pro tandem of cornerback Richard Sherman and strong safety Kam Chancellor, as well as Legion of Boom corners Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. The Packers have Lacy, an 1,100-yard rusher. But the Seahawks have All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. The Packers have Sitton, an All-Pro guard. But the Seahawks have disruptive defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, as well as linebacker and leading tackler K.J. Wright.
And the Seahawks also have an intangible on their side in this noon matchup that will determine the NFC representative in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Arizona.
"I don't know what they're going to do. We can't anticipate," Wagner said. "We've just got to be ready for what they're going to do. We're ready for anything that they throw at us.
"Whatever you want to throw at us, we're ready."
Cocky? No, just the confidence that comes from playing the way the Seahawks' defense has been – not just this season, but for the past three seasons. The Seahawks have led the NFL in average points allowed the past three seasons, and really clamped down during the six-game winning streak to close the 2014 regular season when they allowed an average of 6.5 points. The Seahawks also have led the league in average yards allowed the past two seasons, including holding the Packers to 255 yards during a 36-16 victory in the NFL season opener back in September.
So they don't just think they're good, they know they're good. And the proof is in the averages and outcomes. And yes, the comradery, trust and love that really sets this unit apart.
Asked about Wagner's "Whatever you want to throw at us, we're ready" comment, Thomas' face lit up.
"He has every right in the world to feel that way, because I feel the exact same way," he said. "I definitely agree with that. We just have a lot of talent. And Bobby understands how good we are as a defense. And when a guy says that, that just shows you have strongly we really believe in ourselves. And what we've really got going on in our defensive (meeting) room with (coordinator) Dan Quinn.
"We love each other. We just feel strong inside. Everybody's connected."
But the Seahawks aren't just strong inside. You don't accomplish what this still-young unit has, with the consistency that it has, without more than just a little outer strength to go with it. Just ask the teams that have come into CenturyLink Field and tried to alter their approach to match the physical, aggressive style of the Seahawks' defense.
"We do this every single game," Wagner said. "So if they're going to switch something up and try to change something, that's them not playing how they are. We are always physical, every single game.
"So you're not going to out-physical us. There's not going to be too many teams that are going to out-physical us, because that's just our nature."