Green Bay Packers' Cedric Benson picks up yardage against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 13. Benson brings balance to the Packers offense and is vital to keeping defenses honest. (AP)

Green Bay travels to Seattle for its Week 3 matchup on Monday Night Football. Whether the Packers like it or not, this game could be decided on the ground: The Packers rushing offense ranks 29th (75.5 yards per game) and their run defense ranks 27th (140.0); the Seahawks’ attack ranks sixth (148.5) and their defense is first (46.0).

With that in mind, here are three keys to a Packers win over the Seahawks:

1. Score early -- Under the lights, on national TV, on Monday Night Football, Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is going to be loud. “Extremely loud,” WR Greg Jennings said. The best way to silence a deafening crowd and take that home-field advantage away is to score early. Last year, the Packers offense was able to do that routinely. This year, not so much.

Green Bay has scored just three points in the first quarter through the first two games. QB Aaron Rodgers said those sluggish starts in two games have contributed to the offense’s sluggish start to the season. "It's bad starts coming out of the tunnel both times," Rodgers said. "We've had some decent drives in both those quarters and zero points. We have to do a better job on that. We have to start the game a little faster. Last year, we were kind of the opposite. We started pretty fast I feel like and scored a lot coming out of the second half."

A couple of first-quarter touchdowns would go a long way to quieting the Seahawks’ crowd and increasing the offense’s confidence. Look for Rodgers to take an early deep shot, especially if the Seahawks safeties aren’t both sitting back deep.

2. Gain the ground -- The Seahawks want this game to be played in the trenches a few yards at a time. They will hand the ball off to bruising RB Marshawn Lynch on early downs in hopes of setting up manageable third down situations for rookie QB Russell Wilson. The Packers’ interior defenders need to rise to the challenge and win the physical battle with the Seahawks offensive line. If they don’t, Lynch could grind them into submission like Frank Gore and the 49ers did in Week 1 (186 team rushing yards).

On offense, Green Bay has to commit to the run game, something it didn’t do against San Francisco. RB Cedric Benson brings balance to the Packers offense and is vital to keeping defenses honest. If Benson can gain four yards a carry, he’ll prevent Seattle from dropping into a two-deep safety shell, and Rodgers and Co. can get the passing game going.

Get Benson the ball on a variety of draws and one-back shotgun handoffs and use the rush to set up the pass. If the Packers don’t show they can effectively run the ball, teams will be content to sit back and take away Rodgers’ arm. This is a big test.

3. Be special -- The Packers’ special teams has emerged as a legitimate strength. All four units are strong and the specialists are among the best in the league. K Mason Crosby’s booming kickoffs and P Tim Masthay’s well-placed punts are helping the Packers win the field-position battle by pinning opponents deep in their own territory. Along with the coverage units, those two will be critically important in trying to keep Seattle’s talented return man, Leon Washington, in check on Monday night.

Washington’s counterpart might have something to say about the result as well. Packers WR Randall Cobb already has three return touchdowns to his name in two years in the league, including a 75-yard punt return score in Week 1. He has benefited from great blocking and is a threat to break one off at any time. He’s also a dangerous playmaker in the slot and in the backfield on offense.

Coach Mike McCarthy on the Packers’ improved special teams: “I really like the way this group has grown the last couple years. We changed a number of things about three years back as far as our playbook, our approach, our philosophy. And I clearly think it’s going to be our best year in my time here.”

Follow Packers reporter James Carlton on Twitter: @CBSPackers and @jimmycarlton88.