SEATTLE — At some point tonight, coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks will step back and appreciate the festivities commemorating last season's Super Bowl title.
Then it will be time to embark on the goal to become the first team in a decade to repeat by facing the Packers.
"The thing that really separates us is we always stay true to who we are," safety Earl Thomas said. "We're going to recapture what we did last year and add a few more things to it."
Green Bay knows about winning a title and the pitfalls of trying to repeat. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers got his four seasons ago and followed by going 15-1 before being bounced in the division round by the Giants.
With the addition of Julius Peppers to the defense, a revamped secondary and Year 2 of running back Eddie Lacy creating a balanced offense, many pundits believe the Packers can dethrone Seattle in the NFC.
"This is a game that we've been in before after we won the Super Bowl. We know the excitement that surrounds it," Rodgers said. "We're playing at a tough environment with the Super Bowl champions, so it's going to be a tough test for us."
Suspended Welker denies taking Ecstasy
Broncos receiver Wes Welker denied his four-game ban for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy is for taking MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or Molly, at May's Kentucky Derby.
"I wouldn't have any idea where to get a Molly or what a Molly is," he wrote in an email to the Denver Post. "That's a joke. I don't do marijuana. I don't do drugs. I don't do any drugs."
The league does not disclose substances on suspensions.
In the email, Welker wondered if someone put something in his drink at the Derby.
"I'm as shocked as everyone," Welker wrote. "I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would never knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way."
Newton sits: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, dealing with fractured ribs, was held out of practice due to soreness. But coach Ron Rivera said he still believes Newton will start Sunday against the Bucs. Derek Anderson took first-team reps.
Sam deal official: Defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted, joined the Cowboys' practice squad four days after the Rams released him. Any team can sign Sam off the practice squad but must put him on the active roster for at least four weeks.
Seau lawsuit: The family of former Chargers star linebacker Junior Seau opted out of the NFL's proposed settlement with former players over concussion-related injuries. The family will continue its wrongful death lawsuit against the league. Seau committed suicide in 2012. "The settlement does not include any value at all for the claims of his four children or the loss of his companionship or the loss of his future earnings," said the family's lawyer, Steve Strauss.
Bills: Receiver Sammy Watkins, who missed two preseason games with a pair of rib injuries, returned to practice. Coach Doug Marrone did not disclose his status for Sunday.
Colts: Guard Jamon Meredith, cut by the Bucs, signed.
49ers: Receiver Michael Crabtree missed practice with a calf injury, and his status for Sunday hasn't been determined.
Jets: Starting cornerback Dee Milliner missed practice with a high left ankle sprain, and his status for Sunday hasn't been determined.
Raiders: The team and city of Oakland reached a tentative deal to build a stadium, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The paper reported the city would provide the land but the team and private investors would pay for a stadium to cost between $900 million and $1.2 billion. There is no timetable for a final agreement.
Saints: Linebacker Junior Galette signed a four-year extension nfl.com reported is worth $41.5 million ($23 million guaranteed). Last year, his first as a starter, he had 12 sacks.
Texans: Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, the top pick in May, returned to practice after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. Coach Bill O'Brien said he will start Sunday.