Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM
TNF - Packers at Seahawks
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Green Bay at Seattle (-3, 49), 8:20 pm ET, FOX/NFLN
The first meeting between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson produced one of the NFL’s most memorable finishes. You remember the “Fail Mary,” right? Replacement refs butchered the call, Golden Tate was awarded a touchdown he didn’t deserve and the Packers went home losers of a game in which Rodgers was sacked eight times.
The Packers star won his first visit to Seattle but comes into Thursday night’s crucial clash against the Seahawks 1-2 at Century Link Field, having also lost the 2014 season opener. Rodgers has posted wins in each of the past three seasons, but all of those meetings came at Lambeau Field.
This latest matchup finds both perennial NFC title contenders on the outside looking in as far as making the playoffs is concerned. With this being the 10th game for both, the sense of urgency is ratcheted up as all excuses go out the window. It doesn’t matter that this is a short week for both or that this will be the fourth time each takes the field in a 20-day span. The winner gets to have a nice, hopeful Thanksgiving while the loser faces a miserable time since they’ll be a sub-.500 team facing must-wins the rest of the way.
Green Bay has yet to win on the road this season, losing to heavyweights like the Rams and Patriots in addition to setbacks against the Redskins and Lions. The 12th Man has only witnessed a single Seahawks victory this season – way back in September against Dallas. Seattle came up short against the Rams and Chargers in games they were in all four quarters, but its feared homefield advantage has been neutralized of late.
Dating back to November of last season, the Seahawks have won only two of seven home games. They fell 36-31 against the Rams on Sunday, coming up short on a comeback bid as Wilson tried to rally his team despite starting RB Chris Carson being scratched prior to kickoff.
Wilson, who has thrown three touchdown passes in four of the past five games, ran for a season-best 92 yards in the loss, his highest total since Nov. 2014. Clearly, desperation has set in as he’s hit ‘whatever it takes’ mode since he’d rushed for just 118 yards over his first eight starts.
Jared Goff and Todd Gurley dominated a new-look Seattle defense that surrendered a season-high 36 points, so they’ll be under pressure to turn things around with Rodgers coming into town fresh off his fifth consecutive game without throwing an interception.
Despite still being hampered by a knee issue since being injured in Week 1, Rodgers ran a season-high six times in posting a 31-12 home win over the Dolphins that helped snap a two-game losing streak. His TD-to-INT ratio is 17-1, so it’s going to be difficult for the Seahawks to turn him over. Only Jared Goff has managed to pass for over 300 yards against Seattle’s defense over the past eight weeks, and they do rank seventh with 10 interceptions and eighth with six forced fumbles.
The Packers will be facing the NFL’s top rushing offense at full strength since Carson is expected to return from the hip injury that sidelined him in L.A. Rookie Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis teamed with Wilson to try and effectively play keep-away from the Rams offense, giving them a chance and ultimately, helping score a backdoor cover despite the loss.
Expect a heavy dose of the run since Pete Carroll knows enough that he doesn’t fully trust his defense to contain Rodgers and will want to control possession. Green Bay leads the NFL with 31 sacks and has DT Kenny Clark playing at an extremely high level, so the Seahawks will likely look to protect Wilson by riding the ground game so long as they remain within striking distance.
Weather won’t be a factor on what’s expected to be a clear, 50-degree night in Seattle, so the offense should have solid conditions to work with. Read on for thoughts on the total, line movements, injury news, info on past meetings, props and next week’s betting numbers.
Green Bay Packers
Season win total: 10 (Over +100, Under -120)
Odds to win NFC North: 6/1 to 13/4
Odds to win NFC: 20/1 to 12/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 40/1 to 25/1
Season win total: 7.5 (Over -120, Under +100)
Odds to win NFC West: OFF to OFF
Odds to win NFC: 100/1 to 150/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 200 to 300/1
The Seahawks were +280 to reach the playoffs in the prop available at Westgate before this season began while the Packers went off at -180. The Packers were 17-to-10 to win the NFC North, listed only behind the Vikings (11/10), while Seattle wasn 11/2, trailing the 49ers (7/2) and Rams (1/2), whose dominance has taken the NFC West off the board.
The Packers were 6-to-1 to capture the NFC and 12-to-1 to win the Super Bowl when the season began. Seattle went off at 30/1 to win the NFC and 60/1 to prevail as champion, so odds are much more lucrative at the moment.
As far as this matchup is concerned, the Seahawks were a 2-point favorite when the Westgate's early numbers were announced last week and opened at -2.5 before reaching the 3-point spread that was the consensus on Thursday morning.
Seattle opened at -140 on the money line and is available at -145/150 at the moment. If you like the home 'dog outright, a payout on a Packers win will get you +120 to +135 depending on the shop.
The Seahawks are the much healthier team, so if you're wondering why a team that's perceived to be superior in terms of current betting futures and preseason expectations is listed as the underdog, there's your answer. Only linebacker K.J. Wright is listed as doubtful, while corner Neiko Thorpe and safety Delano Hill are questionable. The list of players in doubt is far longer on Green Bay's side of things.
Rodgers was one of a number of guys who skipped practice on Monday but he's good to go. The hope is that corner Bashaud Breeland will be able to play since CB Kevin King has been ruled out. LB Blake Martinez should be out there despite an ankle issue, but Nick Perry won't be due to a knee injury. Safety Kentrell Brice won't play either, while the offense will be without Rodgers' security blanket Randall Cobb. Tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, both dealing with knee issues, are expected to be out there protecting Rodgers.
The ‘over/under’ on this matchup opened at 49 and the number has held steady as of Thursday morning. Weekly “Total Talk” writer Chris David of VegasInsider.com offered up his thoughts on this matchup:
This isn’t an easy total to handicap and for viewing purposes I hope we finally get a tight game on Thursday as the last six outcomes have been decided by an average margin of 25.5 PPG. In the midweek game this season, we’ve watched the ‘over’ go 7-3 and the winning team is averaging 35.6 PPG.
While another shootout is expected by the oddsmakers, I believe this game will fall ‘under’ the total for a variety of reasons. Seattle is a run-first team (152.2 YPG) and it’s coming off a 273-yard performance in a tight loss to the Rams. The ground-and-pound approach keeps runs the clock and it also helps give the defense rest. Most pundits point to Seattle’s unit (21.3 PPG) as a weakness and it’s certainly not on the same level as previous seasons but it’s proven to be decent statistically.
Green Bay (24 PPG) still has issues on the defensive side of the ball and it’s been worse on the road (30.5 PPG) but you can argue that allowing 29 and 31 in their last two road trips to the Rams and Patriots respectively was an improvement. Seattle isn’t on the same level of those teams and I’d be surprised to see Green Bay allow 30-plus points on Thursday.
I also believe the Packers will try to run the ball, especially after posting 195 on the ground in last week’s win albeit to the worst run defense in Miami. Knowing Green Bay hasn’t won back-to-back games this season and this is a must-win matchup, perhaps a run-first approach should be stressed.
For our purposes, Green Bay has leaned slightly to the ‘over’ (5-4) this season but Seattle is one of eight teams in the NFL that have watched the ‘under’ go 6-3. These teams are familiar with one another, having played in each of the last four regular seasons and once in the playoffs. The ‘over’ has gone 3-2 in those games with and that includes a 2-0 mark in the contests played at CenturyLink Field.
Along with leaning to the ‘under’ (49) in the game, I would also press the ‘under’ on the Team Total for both the Packers (23 ½) and Seahawks (25 ½) as well.
RECENT MEETINGS (Green Bay 7-3 SU, 7-2-1 ATS last 10; UNDER 5-5)
9/10/17 Green Bay 17-9 vs. Seattle (GB -2.5, 49.5)
12/11/16 Green Bay 38-10 vs. Seattle (GB +3, 47)
9/20/15 Green Bay 27-17 vs. Seattle (GB -3, 49)
9/4/14 Seattle 36-16 vs. Green Bay (SEA -8.5, 45)
9/24/12 Seattle 14-12 vs. Green Bay (SEA +3.5, 45.5)
12/27/09 Green Bay 48-10 vs. Seattle (GB -13.5, 43.5)
10/12/08 Green Bay 27-17 at Seattle (GB +1, 44.5)
11/27/06 Seattle 34-24 vs. Green Bay (SEA -10, 42.5)
1/1/06 Green Bay 23-17 vs. Seattle (GB -3, 40.5)
10/5/03 Green Bay 35-13 vs. Seattle (GB -1, 45)
Of the props available below at [...], I'd ride the first challenge being successful because most refs are terrible and will take a shot that the first turnover is a fumble. I'd also recommend riding the second half as the game's highest-scoring.
Team to reach 10 points first: (Packers +100, Seahawks -120)
Team to reach 20 points first: (Packers +105, Seahawks -125)
Team to score first: (Packers -110, Seahawks -110)
Team to score last: (Packers -110, Seahawks -110)
Team to challenge first: (Packers -110, Seahawks -110)
First score: (Touchdown -170, FG/Safety +150)
First turnover: (None +800, Fumble +130, INT -125)
Highest scoring half: 1st -125, 2nd + OT +105)
Total FGs made by both teams: (3.5, Over (+120, Under -140)
Team with longest TD scored: (Packers -145, Seahawks +125)
2-point conversion action: (Successful +290, No conversion -350)
4th down conversion action: (Successful -220, No conversion +180)
Will there be a defensive or special teams TD?: (Yes +240, No -280)
Will there be a kickoff return touchdown?: (Yes +2000, No -5000)
Will there be a punt return touchdown?: (Yes +1400, No -2500)
Will there be overtime?: (Yes +1000, No -1500)
Will the game end in a tie: (Yes +4000, No -15000)
Will there be a score in the final two minutes of 1st half?: (Yes -220, No +180)
Will the largest lead top 16.5 points:( Yes +100, No -120)
Will the first coach's challenge be successful:( Yes -120 No +100)
Will there be 3 straight scores by either team: (Yes -210, No +175)
NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED
Westgate Vegas opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 12 currently has the Seahawks liisted as an 4.5-point road underdog at the Panthers. The Packers will be back in prime time to visit the Vikings in an immense NFC North Sunday night game and are listed as a 4-point underdog.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA