Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks: 2014 NFC Championship Pick

Green Bay Packers (13-4) at Seattle Seahawks (13-4)

The Packers beat the Cowboys last week, beating a team that was 8-0 on the road previously and improving to 9-0 at home themselves. However, because they are 9-0 at home, that also means they are just 4-4 on the road this season. Away from Lambeau, they haven’t been the same team. All 4 of their losses came by more than a touchdown (2 of which came against non-playoff opponents) and 3 of them came by double digits. That’s important considering this line is at 7.5. Meanwhile, two of their road wins were by a field goal. On the season away from home, they move the chains at a 77.33% rate, as opposed to 76.15% for their opponents, an underwhelming 1.18% differential.

On the other hand, everyone knows about Seattle’s home dominance. Since 2007, the Seahawks are 49-20 at home, including playoffs, and they aren’t just having success straight up as they are 47-21-1 ATS. They outscore opponents on average by 8.01 points per game at home. This is opposed to a 27-42 record away from home (31-37-1 ATS), getting outscored by 2.80 points per game, a roughly 11 point swing. This homefield advantage wasn’t as pronounced this regular season as the Seahawks were good everywhere they went, moving the chains at a 74.06% rate at home, as opposed to 66.96% for their opponents (a differential of 7.10%), while moving the chains at a 76.10% rate on the road, as opposed to 70.42% for their opponents (a differential of 5.67%). However, they’re still 7-2 ATS at home this year (including playoffs).

Seattle’s home dominance and the Packers’ relative road struggles were on display week 1 when the Packers lost in Seattle by the final score of 36-16. That game was as lopsided as the final score would suggest, as the Seahawks moved the chains at an 85.29% rate, while the Packers did so at a 72.41% rate. The Seahawks are almost definitely a better team now than they were then as they have shaken off some of the complacency that comes with being defending Super Bowl champs and they have gotten healthy at the right time. The Seahawks ranked 1st in schedule adjusted rate of moving the chains differential over the final 4 games of the season, at 16.11%. They also ranked 1st in that aspect over the final 8 games of the season at 11.68%. Green Bay, meanwhile, ranked 8th and 3rd in those two aspects respectively, with differentials of 5.76% and 8.08% respectively.

The Seahawks’ 14 point win over the Panthers last week at home wasn’t as lopsided as the final score suggested. The Seahawks moved the chains at a 79.17% rate, as opposed to 74.19% for the Panthers. If Kam Chancellor doesn’t pick off that pass and take it back 90 yards, that’s a very different final score and you can’t always rely on plays like that. However, Carolina was the 2nd hottest playoff team coming in behind Seattle (in terms of the last 4 games of the season) so it’s somewhat excusable. Green Bay’s win last week was hardly dominant either as the Packers moved the chains at an 83.87% rate, as opposed to 82.76% for the Cowboys. Sure, the Cowboys were an 8-0 road team coming in, but Rodgers being less than 100% with injuries can’t be ignored, especially now that they have to go on the road.

The one reason I’m not making a big play on the Packers is because their loss in Seattle earlier this year could easily work to their advantage. Teams are 28-14 ATS since 2001 in the playoffs against a non-divisional opponent that they already lost to earlier this season in the same location. However, the Seahawks do seem like the right side here. Even better, the public is split on this game so the odds makers won’t take a huge loss if the Seahawks cover, which always makes betting on a favorite easier. I’m not putting any money on this one though.

Seattle Seahawks 27 Green Bay Packers 17

Pick against the spread: Seattle -7.5

Confidence: Low




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