Sunday, January 11, 2015

NFL Predictions 2015 NFC Championship: Packers Vs Seahawks

Green Bay Packers Vs. Seattle Seahawks: SEA -6.5 (-120) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This line opened -7 (+104) shortly after the Packers took out the Cowboys, and I wanted to get on it before it had a chance to move up. If I was setting this line, I'd open it at -7.5 at minimum, and even as high as -9 to keep it out of the teaser window. There's not a lot of action on this game yet, but the early money is on Seattle.

Bottom Line

I've been on the Packers the last couple times they traveled to Seattle. We all remember how they got robbed by the replacement officials, but when they returned there this year they got manhandled.

What can we expect in a rematch?

As high as I am on the Packers, I don't think they'll be able to hang with the Seahawks on Sunday. Rodgers simply doesn't have the mobility to make the magic happen. He's fine getting the ball out as a pocket passer, but that probably won't be enough versus the best defense in the NFL. His ability to bide time and scramble for first downs will be missed.

And even beyond a gimpy Rodgers, they weren't nearly as dominant on the road as they were at home. They were still 6th in the league, but that's a far cry from first. In contrast, Seattle's defense is the best unit when playing at home, which is always bad news for anyone coming to CenturyLink. At home, Seattle is 7-2 ATS this season, while Green Bay is 3-5 ATS on the road.

Yet, the bigger problem for the Packers will be when their defense is on the field. This side of the ball just never elevated to the level I thought they would reach this year. They finished the season average across the board, and poor versus the run, which means they'll have virtually no strength to impose on Seattle. With so many options, Wilson and Lynch should be able to feast on the ground and dictate the game - much like the Cowboys did in the Divisional round. They'll also be able to take shots down the field if the Packers commit too much to the line of scrimmage.

And in case you were wondering what might happen if this was close heading into the final quarter, the Seahawks have outscored their opponents 62-0 in the 4th quarter over the last seven games. A big part of that is how both sides of the ball performs in 3rd down and red zone situations. When you combine that with Pete Carroll's 16-1 prime-time record, and the team's championship pedigree, there's no way I'm betting against them this week.

If your book doesn't allow for the affordable -6.5, I'd still go ahead and play this at -7. UPDATE: some books are moving this off the -7 (like they should've to start), so it's best to get in on that before it's too late.

NFL Pick: SEA -6.5.