It was an easy call which Sunday game to preview this week as it's the Sunday night NBC matchup, which should draw mega-ratings and betting action, and an NFC Championship rematch and potential preview as Seattle visits Green Bay.
The Packers are now the betting favorites to win Super Bowl 50 at +500 at Bovada. The Seahawks have slipped to third-favorites (also behind New England) at +750. From what I saw in Week 1, I see no reason why these two won't play in the NFC title game again, although there were some worrisome signs for Seattle. After all, Dallas lost superstar receiver Dez Bryant for perhaps 12 weeks. Philadelphia looked overrated in a loss in Atlanta. No NFC South team is better than either Seattle or Green Bay. Arizona? St. Louis? Not sold on them yet despite some impressive Week 1 victories.
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I will remind you that an early-season win can have huge ramifications. Just ask the Packers after they lost in Seattle in Week 1 last year. That would end up being the tiebreaker between these teams.
Seahawks at Packers Betting Story Lines
Green Bay was the biggest road favorite of Week 1 and took care of business, although not as dominating as I expected, in a 31-23 victory in Chicago. The Bears, who were crushed by the Packers twice last season, led 13-10 at halftime and it was only a 17-16 Packers edge entering the fourth. They put it away with an Aaron Rodgers 5-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb at 10:26 of the fourth and then the dagger: a 2-yard Eddie Lacy score with 1:55 left. The Bears added a Martellus Bennett 24-yard TD catch from Jay Cutler with 34 seconds left but couldn't cover. Chicago outgained the Packers 402-322 and rushed for 189 yards -- I guarantee you that has been the focus of Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers during practice this week.
Two defensive notes from that one. Excellent Packers safety Morgan Burnett didn't play due to a calf injury -- he would have definitely helped against the run -- and is questionable here. Micah Hyde would start again if Burnett can't. Defensive end Datone Jones was suspended for Week 1 but will play here. He might start with fellow end Letroy Guion still suspended. Guion has two games to go. Green Bay also lost linebacker Sam Barrington to a foot injury and placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
Seattle was stunned 34-31 in overtime in St. Louis in Week 1 -- the second straight poor game for that Seahawks' stellar defense if you count February's Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. Remember when Pete Carroll didn't use Marshawn Lynch at the goal line late in the Super Bowl and that led to the game-losing interception? Well, Carroll went to Lynch on fourth-and-1 at the St. Louis 43 in overtime, and he was stuffed. Obviously that was too far away to try a realistic field goal. Seattle also had an odd onside/pooch kick to open overtime, which Carroll said was a mistake.
The Seahawks' offensive line was a moderate concern entering the season, and Russell Wilson was sacked six times by St. Louis. His top new target, Jimmy Graham, caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Of course, Seattle remains without Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor. His absence really showed when his starting replacement, Dion Bailey, stumbled on a 37-yard Rams TD pass from Nick Foles to Lance Kendricks to tie the game at 31 with 53 seconds remaining. As of now, Chancellor isn't going to play this week, either, but his leverage would sure grow if Seattle starts 0-2 and has another poor defensive game. Chancellor isn't just a big hitter, he's the leader of that defense. Supposedly the sides are only about $1 million apart.
Seattle beat the visiting Packers 36-16 in Week 1 last year. That was a dominating effort. Lynch ran for 110 yards and two scores. And in the NFC title game in Seattle, the Packers should have won and were the better team for about 55 minutes, but some late breaks went the Seahawks' way and they prevailed 28-22 in overtime. Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown 3:19 into the extra period to win it. You will no doubt see one highlight on a loop this week: former Packer Brandon Bostick muffing a late onside kick. If Green Bay gets that, it wins.
Seahawks at Packers NFL Week 2 Betting Odds and Trends
The Seahawks are 11-3 against the spread in their past 14 road games vs. teams with a winning home record (Packers haven't played at home yet but were unbeaten there in 2014). Seattle is 5-2 ATS in its past seven following a loss. Seattle is 1-4 ATS in its past five after allowing more than 30 points in its previous game. Green Bay is 1-5 ATS in its past six at home vs. teams with a losing road record. It is 4-1 ATS in its past five vs. the NFC. The "over/under" is 4-0 in Seattle's past four overall. The under is 6-2 in the Seahawks' past eight following a loss. The over is 7-2 in Green Bay's past nine at home. The over is 5-1-1 in the past seven meetings.
Free NFL Betting Picks: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Expert Predictions
Sunday will be the Seahawks' first trip to Lambeau Field since 2009. Including playoffs, the Packers are 8-3 against Seattle at home, with wins in the last five. The Pack also have won five straight in Week 2. They are 7-2 in home openers under Mike McCarthy.
If the Pack win here, I don't see how they don't win a tiebreaker over Seattle. Green Bay probably doesn't lose more than four games all season. So that would mean the Seahawks would be able to lose just once more the rest of the way to finish ahead of the Packers.
Use the 3-point alternate line and give the points. I'm going under the total.
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