The Jaguars and Seahawks have only played against each other five times and the Jags have never played at Seattle's Qwest Field, which makes this a week of especially intense preparation for the Jaguars.
They'll fly to Seattle a day early, on Friday, to have an extra day to adjust to the three-hour time difference and to get a feel for the Seattle climate. A team that will practice in temperatures and humidity that will each hover near 90 will get its first taste of fall this Sunday in the Pacific Northwest.
"Preparation is the key. It's not a team we see a lot," coach Jack Del Rio told reporters on Wednesday.
The last time the two teams faced each other was in the 2005 season-opener, on a brutally hot day in Jacksonville. Seattle took a lead to halftime but was too spent to answer the bell, as the Jaguars pulled away in the second half. Seattle went on to win the NFC title.
This is a very different Seattle team. The Super Bowl is a distant memory for a team attempting to recover from a 4-12 record in what was Mike Holmgren's final season as coach.
Jaguars wide receiver Torry Holt knows Seattle well from his days in the NFC West with the St. Louis Rams.
"It's a playoff atmosphere, very loud; fans are definitely into their football. You have to be able to stay calm," Holt said.
Qwest Field is a partially-enclosed stadium that exposes the field to the elements and traps noise. It's widely known to be one of the noisiest stadiums in the league.
"It's hard for me to believe this place is going to be louder than the old stadium in Indianapolis," quarterback David Garrard said.
The Seahawks, 1-3, haven't given their fans much to cheer since an opening-day win over the Rams. Last week, they were blown out, 34-17, in Indianapolis.
"I see a veteran quarterback who knows what he wants to do with the offense," Del Rio said of Matt Hasselbeck, who's missed time due to injury this season. "We're prepared for both," Del Rio added of Hasselbeck and backup Seneca Wallace, who's more mobile than Hasselbeck.
The Jaguars are coming off their most impressive performance in a long time, having spanked AFC South foe Tennessee last Sunday, 37-17.
"To be able to pass and run the ball is great for an offense. It's tough to defend and we're going to give them a dose of both," Garrard said.
The Jaguars moved up to 10th in overall offense this week, but the defense is lagging at 29th and is tied for last place against the pass. The blame for the pass-defense failures is being put on the lack of a pass-rush; the Jaguars are also last in the league in sacks per pass play.
Del Rio defended defensive end/linebacker Derrick Harvey, considered to be the Jaguars' premier pass-rusher but without one this season.
"I think he played very well last week. I'll take that effort every week," Del Rio said of Harvey.
Pass-rush specialist Quentin Groves, however, has fallen on the depth chart.
"The guys that produce play. Right now, his biggest contribution is going to come on special teams and as a backup," Del Rio said of Groves.