2008 NFL Playoffs: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers Preview and Pick

Seattle Seahawks (11-6) +8, 41 O/U at Green Bay Packers (13-3) -8,
41 O/U, Lambeau Field, 4:30 PM Eastern, Saturday

by Badger of Predictem.com

Two teams who are very familiar with each other will face off in a
NFC Divisional Playoff game Saturday when the Seattle Seahawks travel
to play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Seattle is not only coached by former Green Bay leader Mike Holmgren,
but Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was also a longtime backup
to Packers quarterback Brett Favre before leaving to run the show in
Seattle. The Seahawks defeated Washington, 35-14, in the opening
round of the NFL playoffs last weekend to set up another playoff
meeting in Green Bay this week.

Green Bay, who earned an opening round bye with a surprising 13-3
regular season record, won their final game of the regular season
with a 34-13 decision over Detroit. The Packers have defeated the
Seahawks in a playoff game in Lambeau before, a 33-27 overtime
victory back in 2004.

The oddsmakers in Las Vegas opened the game with the Packers as a 9-
point favorite, with an over/under total of 40.5.

The Packers have enjoyed one of their best seasons ever under a
resurgent and refreshed Brett Favre and second-year head coach Mike
McCarthy. McCarthy has gotten Favre to buy into his system and it has
produced the 2nd best overall offense in the NFL (370.8 ypg). Favre
(4,157 yds., 28 TDs) has a strong unit of receivers that has allowed
him to post the NFLs 2nd best passing offense (271 ypg) and he has
taken care of the interceptions (only 15) that seemed to plague him
late in his career. The Packers have also found a running game with
Ryan Grant (956 yds., 8 TDs) in the second half of the season and are
4th overall in scoring with a 27.2 points per game average.

Seattles offense, which once featured the slashing running style of
former MVP Shaun Alexander, now relies entirely on the throwing of
Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck (3,966 yds., 28 TDs) also has a strong
contingent of receivers, which has led coach Holmgren to abandon the
thought of run-first, pass-second, and has allowed the Seahawks to
become the NFLs 8th best passing offense at 247.8 yards per game.
Alexander (716 yds., 4 TDs) is missing the burst he once had, and the
lack of the running game has made the Seahawks slip down the ranks in
most the NFL offensive statistical categories (20th in rushing
101.7 ypg; 10th in scoring 24.6 ppg).

The Packers defense is middle of the pack in the NFL statistically
(11th overall 313.3 ypg; 12th vs. pass 210.2 ypg; 14th vs. run
103.1 ypg), but it produced better results earlier in the season
before injuries started to take its toll late. They feature one of
the leagues best cornerback tandems in Al Harris and Charles
Woodson, who both love to play the bump-n-run style versus receivers.
The Packers should be able to match up well versus the pass-happy
Seahawk offense, as ends Aaron Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
provide enough of a pass rush to allow Harris and Woodson time to
disrupt the timing of the short West-Coast passing style of
Holmgren. Overall the Packers have allowed just 18.2 points per game,
good enough for 6th overall in the NFL.

Seattles defense is also mediocre when it comes to stats (15th
overall 321.8 ypg; 19th vs. pass 219.1 ypg; 12th vs. run 102.8
ypg), but it does possess a lot of speed in the front seven which can
cause match up problems at times. End Patrick Kearney led the NFL in
sacks with 14.5, and linebackers Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu are
fast and athletic enough to cover lots of ground both in the running
and passing game. On the season the Seahawks allowed an average of
18.2 points per game, just one spot behind the Packers for 7th in the

The two teams have met four times since the Packers won that playoff
game back in 2004, with both teams winning twice straight up.
Ironically, both teams have covered the number once, with two pushes
in those four games, and they have also gone 2-2 versus the total in
those four games as well.

For the season Green Bay has been a gold mine for bettors, going a
staggering 12-3-1 ATS with a rock-solid 7-1 ATS mark at Lambeau. The
Packers resurgent offense under Favre has also been a solid over bet
as well, going 12-4 on the season overall, with a 5-3 mark at home.

Seattle was also a solid wager for bettors this season, going 10-7
ATS with the first week of the playoffs included. They are not he
greatest road team though (3-5 ATS), and the are more likely to fall
under the total as their 8-9 record on the season would indicate. The
Seahawks do tend to go over the total as a road underdog though, as
the over is 6-2 in their last 8 games in that scenario.

Both teams sport some solid betting trends of late, with Seattle
going 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall and their last 9 games
versus the NFC. While the Packers are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17
games overall and 13-4-2 ATS in their last 19 games versus an NFC

Early money has been on the Seahawks, as the line has already dropped
down a full point with the Packers now an 8-point favorite at most sportsbooks. Be sure and shop around for the number you like, as a
few Las Vegas sportsbooks have moved it to Packers -7.5, while there
are still some offshore sportsbooks listing the original Packers -9
number. The total of 40.5 is slightly up to 41, but most bettors will
be waiting until later in the week to see what the Green Bay weather
forecast looks like for game time. Seattle is a +340 on the
moneyline, while the Packers are a -370.

Badgers Pick: The Packers at Lambeau in the playoffs used to be a
lock, but thats not the case anymore. With sun in the forecast for
Saturday afternoon, I like the over of 41 (41.5 at some books) as the
best bet in this game. In the end, I like the Packers secondary
versus the Seattle passing game better then I like the Seahawks
secondary versus the Packers passing game. Wait a few more days to
see if the number drops more than it already has, then take the
Packers minus the points in this one.