Seattle Seahawks (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Packers/Seahawks is becoming a pretty big rivalry. These two teams met twice last season, in the week 1 opener after the Seahawks got their rings, and in the NFC Championship, when the Seahawks ended the Packers’ season in stunning comeback fashion and went to the Super Bowl for the 2nd straight year. The Seahawks have won the NFC in each of the past 2 seasons, but Green Bay was on their level in 2013 before Aaron Rodgers got hurt and then came so close to knocking them off last season. Now this year, Green Bay and Seattle were seen as the consensus top-2 teams in the NFC coming into the season.
As a result of the fact that both of these teams won their division last season, the Seahawks and the Packers will face off this week on Sunday Night Football in their 3rd matchup in a little bit over a year. These two teams also met in 2012 in Russell Wilson’s rookie year, when Seattle beat the Packers thanks to the infamous simultaneous possession call made by the replacement refs on the winning touchdown. The Packers have lost each of their last 3 matchups against the Seahawks, but the Seahawks also haven’t been to Green Bay since 2009 (a Seattle loss).
Going to Green Bay will be a different test for the Seahawks. As long as Aaron Rodgers starts (minus any games he’s been knocked out very early with injuries), the Packers are 27-11-1 ATS at home since 2010 and 35-4 straight up, with an absurd +569 point differential, meaning they outscore opponents, on average, by 14.59 points per game. Not only will the Seahawks have to deal with the Packers’ homefield advantage, but they will be without their own strong home field advantage. Since Russell Wilson arrived in 2012, they are 26-3 at home (20-9 ATS), outscoring opponents by an average of 13.34 points per game, as opposed to 16-12 on the road (17-11 ATS), outscoring opponents by an average of 6.29 points per game. The location change could be a real boost for a Green Bay team in a matchup they haven’t had a lot of success in recently.
Despite that, I actually will be going with the Seahawks and taking the 3.5 points. This line has moved from 3 in the early line last week and now it’s even at 4 in some places, the most the Seahawks have been underdogs by since week 7 of Russell Wilson’s rookie year, when they went to San Francisco. That line movement might not seem like a big deal, but 3 is such a key number that it is a big deal. The reason for the line movement is that Seattle lost on the road in St. Louis last week.
Everyone thinks the Seahawks are not as good anymore because they are without Kam Chancellor, who is still holding out for more money. I think that’s an overreaction. Russell Wilson is 10-2 ATS off of a loss in his career, 10-3 ATS as an underdog in his career, and 3-1 ATS as an underdog off of a loss. They’ve certainly proven people wrong before and this could be another case of that. Besides, the Packers aren’t at full strength either. Last season, they had the 3rd fewest adjusted games lost on offense, but, so far this year, they’re already without top wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the year with a torn ACL and right tackle Bryan Bulaga is expected to miss this game as well. They’re still a strong offense, but they’re not as perfect around Rodgers as they were in 2014.
On top of that, the Seahawks are in a good spot in their 2nd straight road game. Teams are 117-79 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 96-55 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 197-200 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.25 points per game, as opposed to 278-392 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.10 points per game. The fact that the Seahawks were on the road last week should help them be better prepared to deal with playing in Green Bay. This isn’t a game I’d put money on, but I’m going with the Seahawks.
Green Bay Packers 24 Seattle Seahawks 23
Pick against the spread: Seattle +3.5