Seahawks vs. Packers Expert Picks: NFL Playoff Predictions
What does the last Divisional Round game of the weekend, Seattle at Green Bay in a 6:40 p.m. ET start on Sunday, feature that none of the other three do? Starting quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl ring in Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. No other game even has one such QB. The two starting QBs with rings is the fewest entering the Divisional Round since 2010 when there were also two (Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger).
It's easy to get caught up in the present when ranking players in any sport; we use the term "all-time" great way too often. For example, I have no idea how good quarterback Johnny Unitas was because I wasn't born when he was in his prime.
This is the 100th season of the NFL, and the league announced an All-Time Team of 100 players late last month. Unitas was on there, as he should have been. So were the likes of Joe Montana, Brett Favre, John Elway, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But how is it possible that Rodgers didn't make it? (And Roger Staubach did?)
One answer could be that Rodgers has still played in one Super Bowl (which is a shock), yet Dan Marino was on the list and he played in just one - and lost it, while Rodgers won his. Wilson, frankly, has always been underrated probably because he plays in the Pacific Northwest and most American sports fans don't pay much attention to anything happening west of the Mississippi River if not in Los Angeles.
Both these guys are first-ballot Hall of Famers down the road. Wilson should have plenty more chances to win another Super Bowl as he's just 31, but the championship could be closing just a bit on Rodgers as he's 36. Then again, playing quarterback at age 36 isn't a big deal these days because so many rules are designed to protect them from even getting hit.
Wilson and Rodgers are also proof you don't have to find your franchise quarterback at the top of the draft. Wilson was the No. 75 overall pick in 2012, and Rodgers infamously lasted until the No. 24 overall pick in 2005 and was surprisingly taken by the Packers when Favre was still going strong.
I absolutely believe the winner here has a good chance of going to No. 1 San Francisco - assuming the Niners beat the visiting Vikings on Saturday - and winning the NFC Championship Game. Seattle is +550 to win the NFC title and +1200 for the Super Bowl. Green Bay is +300 and +700, respectively.
Seahawks at Packers Betting Story Lines
No Packer would ever say this, but I promise you that they are happy to be facing the Seahawks instead of the Saints - Minnesota did division-rival Green Bay a mammoth favor by winning in New Orleans. It's the first time in the postseason for the NFC North champion Packers since 2016 when they reached the conference title game but were trucked by the Falcons in Atlanta. Green Bay earned the No. 2 seed over New Orleans by virtue of better record inside the NFC because the two teams didn't play in the regular season.
This will be the playoff head coaching debut of Green Bay's Matt LaFleur. Many around the NFL were surprised that the Packers hired the former Titans offensive coordinator last offseason because he had spent just one season in the NFL as an OC calling plays -- not all coordinators call plays; LaFleur was an OC with the Rams in 2017 and didn't -- and that Tennessee offense wasn't exactly spectacular in 2018. However, the move seems to have worked out well … or maybe Rodgers was just that happy to be rid of Mike McCarthy, who is now the new Cowboys coach.
There are 30 players on the Packers' active roster who will make their playoff debut, led by running back Aaron Jones. Even though Jones split carries with Jamaal Williams at times this season, there was no question who was No. 1 by the end of it. Jones had 1,558 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns (tied for first with Christian McCaffrey).
I picked Seattle to lose last weekend in Philadelphia, and if you told me the Seahawks would be held to 17 points would have felt great about that. Alas, when Jadeveon Clowney knocked out Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz in the first quarter (borderline dirty hit) with a possible concussion, that game was over. No way that 76-year-old Josh McCown was winning it for Philadelphia.
Seattle won 17-9, the exact same score by which it won in Philly earlier this year. Wilson threw for 325 yards and a score this time, with rookie DK Metcalf catching seven passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Those are the most receiving yards by a rookie in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era. That's eight wins in nine road games this season for Wilson & Co. The one loss was Week 14 at the Rams.
Seahawks at Packers Betting Odds and Trends
Green Bay is a 3.5-point favorite (-110) with a total of 47.5. On the moneyline, the Packers are -190 and Seahawks +165. On some alternate lines, the Packers are -3 (-135), -2.5 (-160), -7 (+148) and -7.5 (+168). Seattle is 6-2-1 against the spread on the road this season and 4-5 "over/under." Green Bay is 5-3 ATS at home and 3-5 O/U.
The Seahawks are 8-1 ATS in their past nine as road dogs. They are 2-5 ATS in their past seven Divisional games. The Packers are 7-0 ATS in their past seven following an ATS loss. They are 5-1 ATS in their previous six playoff games. The over is 10-1 in Seattle's past 10 as an underdog. It's 5-1 in the Packers' past six playoff games. The home team is 3-0-1 ATS in the previous four meetings. The over is 7-3-1 in the past 11.
Seahawks at Packers Betting Prediction
First playoff meeting between the two since a memorable NFC title game following the 2014 season in which the Packers gagged away a late 19-7 lead - say Brandon Bostick to a Green Bay fan! -- and lost 28-22 in overtime in Seattle. The Seahawks won a home matchup in Week 11 last regular season 27-24. Wilson hit Ed Dickson on the winning 15-yard TD pass with about five minutes left.
I think the Packers win by a field goal, something like 26-23, but Seattle is certainly capable of the upset. I'll take the 3.5 points and go over the total.
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