Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks Pick
Green Bay Packers (4-4-1 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-5 SU, 5-3-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 11
Date and Time: Thursday, November 15 at 8:20pm ET
Where: CenturyLink Field
TV: FOX & NFL Network
By Ted Walker, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +2.5/SEA -2.5
Over/Under Total: 49
Brewing up a non-divisional rivalry in the NFL takes some significant events. The Pats-Colts series stands out as one of the better non-standard rivalries in recent memory but that was more due to marquee QB matchups than anything that happened on the field. The Packers-Seahawks games over the last few years have been full of contentious and sometimes odd moments, leading to mini-rivalry that is featured this week on Thursday Night Football. The 2012 contest between these teams is known as the “Fail Mary” game after replacement referees botched a call on the last play for a Seattle win. The Seahawks trailed the Packers by twelve points with less than three minutes to go in a 2015 Playoff game before an improbable series of events led to a 28-22 Seattle overtime win. I don’t know if anything rising to that level of craziness will be seen this Thursday, but this game could not be more important as both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. Neither team is looking like a threat to the top of the conference but both squads are proven winners with two of the best quarterbacks in the game. This one should be a worthwhile watch.
Green Bay is feeling alright after cruising to a 31-12 home win against Miami but the schedule makers didn’t do them any favors by pushing that contest against the Dolphins to the later slate. That gives the Packers just about 48 hours of rest before hopping on a plane to Seattle and injury bug continues for the Green and Gold. There won’t be an official report until Wednesday but Safeties Kentrell Brice and Bashaud Breeland have to be considered questionable after exiting the Miami game early. LB Nick Perry, CB Kevin King and WR Randall Cobb were also listed as questionable on the Green Bay prospective report. Those are some key performers and the Packers secondary could be dangerously undermanned if the worse case scenarios happens and none of those DBs are ready to go. Seattle is stinging after another close loss to the Rams but they had a rather short trip home and are really only concerned about the status of Chris Carson. They could be without their leading rusher but they do have depth at the position with Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis ready to fill in. Winning at CenturyLink is a tough task under normal circumstances but Green Bay will be trying to do so on short rest while shorthanded. The Packers are 0-4 on the road this season with long odds to buck that trend.
The Seattle Grind
It is clear that this Seahawk team is limited in certain phases but they are still near-elite in others, including leading the league in rushing at 152 yards per game. Pete Carroll will not be shy about deploying that running game against the 22nd ranked rush defense of Green Bay. Seattle seems to be an average overall team as their 4-5 record would dictate but their ability to run the ball and play solid defense (9th in points allowed) makes them a tough out, especially at home. Russell Wilson isn’t burning up the opposing defenses in terms of yardage but he does have 21 touchdowns and is completing 66% of his passes with a 110 QB rating. Green Bay is 5th against the pass but Wilson remains an effective scrambler and that ability could damage the inexperienced Packer secondary.
#12 Against the World
Mike McCarthy has made a career of relying on Aaron Rodgers. Most of us would put the ball in the hands of the best QB in the league more often than not but the Green Bay offensive scheme may have taken it too far. The Packers are throwing the ball on 64% of their snaps, which is a very high rate considering they lead the NFL at 5.2 yards per rush. Similarly successful passing games like the ones in New Orleans, L.A. (Rams) and Kansas City are only chucking it 53 to 58% of the time so perhaps Green Bay is actually putting too much on Rodgers’ plate. A-Rod’s rather pedestrian 61% completion can be chalked up to injury and lack of chemistry with young receivers but the fact is that Green Bay is 6th in passing and 7th in total yards but just 13th in scoring at 24.8 points per game. That subtle lack of efficiency is due, at least in part, to Rodgers having to throw the ball so much. Green Bay has given up 27 sacks and Rodgers has intentionally thrown the ball away on 36 occasions. Those kinds of plays often create 3rd-and-long scenarios with Green Bay ranking 26th in converting on third and seven or more. Seattle isn’t exactly the Legion of Boom any more but they are still a top-10 pass defense with ten interceptions to their credit. When push comes to shove, the Packers turn to Rodgers to move the ball and the opposing defense knows it.
Bovada Sportsbook launched in 2001. From the beginning, priority was given to user experience. Most online sportsbooks used one of three out of the box software platforms for their user interface. Bovada spent millions creating its own from the ground up. Its support team was also a focus. It was so good and friendly, that customers would routinely call to chat about the games when they didn’t really need any assistance. Bovada eventually had to incorporate limiting casual conversation into their employee training because players enjoyed using customer service for the social element. To this day, Bovada remains focused on a fun experience for their bettors. That includes simple bonus plans like the current offer of 50% CASH Bonus to start the football season.
Outside of the two quarterbacks, there are few standout playmakers on the field this Thursday. Green Bay has relied heavily on Davante Adams (62/787/9) but they could be ready to give more work to Aaron Jones as he continues to average over six yards per carry. Jimmy Graham and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have flashed at times in the passing game but there is little consistency outside of Adams. Tyler Lockett is Wilson’s go-to guy as he leads the team with seven receiving touchdowns but Doug Baldwin (23/275/0) is putting up tight end style numbers as the complementary receiver. The Seattle running backs are tough to tackle but lack a homerun threat with no ball carrier above 4.7 yards per carry. With both teams looking like they will have to work to move the ball and score, this game is scheduled to be very close as the point spread suggests. The Sagarin rating also have these teams neck-and-neck with Green Bay rated 15th and Seattle just two spots ahead.
This series is split at 3-3 in the last six with Green Bay winning each of the last three meetings. The Packers are 4-2 against the spread in those games but they are just 1-5 ATS in their last six as visitors overall. The home teams is 6-1 against the spread in the last seven between these teams and Seattle is 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight Thursday Night games.
Green Bay gets a ton of public love every week so it is a little telling that they are only getting about 55% of the early money on their side despite getting being the underdog. Our eyes tell us they have problems and they seem to be more than what Aaron Rodgers can overcome. Seattle is far from perfect but they have the recipe to play keep-away from Green Bay and seem more than able to play well against good competition. Frank Gore just averaged 6.9 yards per carry running right up the gut against Green Bay and Seattle is going to do the same thing. Wilson will make a few plays with his legs and the Seahawk defense will do just enough to earn a nervous 26-23 win and cover.
NFL Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Seattle