When this game first showed up on the NFL schedule for this year the storyline was obvious. This was going to be the game that Matt Flynn led his new team against his old one, just like Matt Hasselbeck had done so many years ago. That was derailed, of course, when Flynn couldn’t win the starting job over rookie Russell Wilson.
The end of that storyline doesn’t mean that this game isn’t an intriguing one. Green Bay suffered a very tough playoff loss last year after the 15-1 regular season had led everyone to believe they were all but unbeatable. Now they have to move on and try to get the job done this time.
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That goal suffered a setback when they were convincingly dispatched by the Niners in their opener. They bounced back well last week, though, and now sit at 1-1. That’s the same record the Seahawks have, though they came much closer than the Packers to winning their opener and coming into this game undefeated.
The loser here will obviously drop to 1-2. That’s not a fatal record by any means, but for the elite Packers and the up-and-coming Seahawks it would certainly be a disappointment. That adds an extra layer of intrigue to what should be a very good game.
Packers at Seahawks Betting Storylines
It would be really helpful if we had a good sense of which Packers team is likely to show up. In the opener at home against San Francisco they looked like a shadow of their full potential. They were tentative. The San Francisco pass rush knocked Aaron Rodgers off his game the whole day, and he was visibly frustrated. Most significantly, they let the Niners set the tone of the game and control the tempo. That’s something they never did last year until the playoff loss.
Against the Bears, though, it was an entirely different team. They were decisive. They were aggressive. They were determined. They made life absolutely miserable for Jay Cutler. They were the team we got used to watching last year. If the latter team shows up then the Seahawks are probably in trouble. If Seattle can borrow some of the blueprint the Niners used and employ it effectively, though, then things could get interesting.
Dictating the style of play will be crucial for both teams here. There is a distinct contrast in styles in play in this one. The Packers are an aerial team that likes to score early and often. They had a rough start against the Niners, but they have scored more than 20 points in 17 of their last 18 regular season games. They will want to move the ball and keep their offense off the field as much as possible.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, are grinders. The NFL is a pass-heavy league, but Pete Carroll apparently didn’t get that memo. His preferred approach is methodical, slow and ground-driven. They want to start slugfests, and they need to avoid shootouts. One stat stands out above all else here — Carroll is 1-15 in Seattle when the opponent scores more than 20 points. One team doesn’t know how to score less than 20 points and the other team can’t win when their opponent scores that many. Something has to give.
Rookie starter Russell Wilson is obviously a story here, but not nearly as much of one as you might think. Thanks to their reliance on the run Seattle is dead last in the league in passing yards. Wilson has been solid, and he showed major growth in his second game after falling short on a potential game-winning drive in the opener, but the system doesn’t require him to do nearly as much as he would have to do on other teams. He should be a factor in handicapping this game, but dwelling on him too much could distract you from what really matters.
Packers at Seahawks NFL Odds and Betting Trends
The line movement here is interesting. The Packers are definitely the choice of the betting public, drawing in about 80 percent of all bets. Despite that, the line opened with Green bay favored by 4.5 and has since fallen to the key number of three, according to the most recent NFL odds. That movement is contrary to what you might expect and is a good indicator that some serious smart money isn’t as excited by the Packers here as the public is. The total opened at 47 and is mostly stable at that level with some movement down to 46.5 in spots.
Green Bay has covered each of the last three meetings between these squads. That doesn’t mean much, though, since they last meeting was in January of 2009.
Packers at Seahawks Predictions and Monday Night Football Picks
I like the direction the Seahawks are moving in, and it’s about time. While Carroll has things going well, there is still a whole lot of work to do. I don’t believe they are effectively going to be able to shut down the Packers, and it’s too much pressure on Wilson to try to keep up with Rodgers and the Packers’ fireworks.
I will look for the best price I can find for the Packers and jump all over it as long as it isn’t bigger than three points. I don’t like the total much because it seems tight, though I would lean to the under.
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