NFL NFC Championship Game Betting Preview: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

2015 NFC Championship
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Washington
Sunday, January 18, 2015, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Seattle -7
Current Line: Seattle -7 1/2
Opening Total: 46 1/2
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: Seahawks -325 / Packers +265
Current Money Line: Seahawks -335 / Packers +275

Seattle is a 7 point favorite against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Sunday.
Seattle is a 7.5 point favorite against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Sunday.

The Seattle Seahawks look to return to the Super Bowl for the second straight season a year after winning their first NFL Championship. No team has repeated as champions since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Before the Super Bowl though, Seattle must get past the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game Sunday. The winner will face either the New England Patriots or Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIX in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona.

Seattle won the NFC West Division with a 12-4 record. Green Bay won the NFC North also with a 12-4 record. The Seahawks, Packers and Dallas Cowboys all finished with identical records. Seattle won the tiebreaker with a better conference record than the other two and is the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay was the #2 seed. Both teams received first round byes in the playoffs. Seattle beat the Carolina Panthers 31-17 last week in the divisional playoffs. Green Bay beat Dallas 26-21 last week.

Seattle has won two NFC Championships in 2005 and 2013. Green Bay has won 13 NFL Championships including 4 Super Bowls. The Packers look to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010 when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Since 2003, Green Bay leads the series 6-3 against Seattle. The Seahawks have won two straight games against the Packers both in Seattle. Seattle beat Green Bay 36-16 in the regular season opener this season. That game wasn’t even that close as Seattle dominated on both sides of the ball. The two teams also played in the infamous “fail Mary” game in 2012 on Monday night football when replacement referees incorrectly called a Seattle touchdown pass on the last play of the game giving the Seahawks a 14-12 victory. Green Bay beat Seattle in the playoffs in both 2004 and 2008. Both of those games were in Green Bay.

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Green Bay is coached by Mike McCarthy. The Packers have road losses at the Seattle Seahawks 36-16, Detroit Lions 19-7, New Orleans Saints 44-23 and Buffalo Bills 21-13. Green Bay has won 8 of their last 9 games including three straight. The Packers have home wins over the New York Jets 31-24, Minnesota Vikings 42-10, Carolina Panthers 38-17, Chicago Bears 55-14, Philadelphia Eagles 53-20, New England Patriots 26-21, Atlanta Falcons 43-37 and Lions 30-20 in the last game of the regular season. Green Bay has road wins over the Bears 38-17, Miami Dolphins 27-24, Vikings 24-21 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3. The Packers are 9-7-1 ATS and the total is 11-6 this season. Green Bay was an 5.5 point favorite against Dallas and the total was 52.5.

Seattle is coached by Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have road losses at the San Diego Chargers 30-21 St. Louis Rams 28-26 and Kansas City Chiefs 24-20. The Seahawks lost at home to the Cowboys 30-23. The Seahawks have won 7 straight games. Seattle has home wins over the Green Bay Packers 36-16, Denver Broncos 26-20 in overtime, Oakland Raiders 30-24, Arizona Cardinals 19-3, San Francisco 49ers 17-7, and St. Louis Rams 20-6 in the last game of the regular season, plus road wins at the Washington Redskins  27-17, Panthers 13-9, 49ers 19-3, Eagles 24-14 and Cardinals 35-6. The Seahawks are 10-6-1 ATS and the total is 9-8 this season. Seattle was a 13.5 point favorite against Carolina and the total was 40.

Green Bay is outscoring teams 30-22 this season. The Packers are #1 in scoring and #13 in points allowed. The Packers are averaging 386 total yards per game including 266 passing and 120 rushing yards. Green Bay is #6 in total offense and #8 in passing and #11 in rushing. On defense, Green Bay is allowing 346 yards per game including 226 passing and 120 rushing yards per game. The Packers are #15 in total defense, #10 in pass defense and #23 in rush defense. Green Bay is 97/207 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 98/234. The Packers have forced 41 sacks and allowed 30 this season. Green Bay has 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns and has allowed 3 this season. The Packers are +14 in turnovers.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 65.6% of his passes for 4,381 yards with 38 touchdowns and 5 picks, plus 43 carries for 269 yards and 2 touchdown. Rodgers strained his calf late in the season. He aggravated the injury in the win over the Lions and briefly left the game in the second quarter. Last week it was announced Rodgers not only has a severe strain but the calf muscle is partially torn. Rodgers is listed as probable despite the injury, and certainly isn’t as mobile as he usually is. He is a contender for league MVP if not the favorite. If Rodgers somehow can’t go, then Matt Flynn is the back-up.

Running back Eddie Lacy has 246 carries for 1,139 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 42 catches for 427 yards and 4 touchdowns. Lacy is probable with a knee injury. James Starks has 85 carries for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 140 yards.

Receiver Jordy Nelson has 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. Randall Cobb has 91 catches for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. Davante Adams has 38 catches for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns. Andrew Quarless has 29 catches for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns. Four defensive players are questionable or out.

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Seattle is outscoring teams 25-16. The Seahawks are #10 in scoring and #1 in points allowed. Seattle is averaging 376 yards per game on offense including 203 passing and 173 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks are #1 in rushing and #9 in total offense in the NFL, but #28 in passing. Seattle is allowing 267 yards per game on defense including 186 passing and 82 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks lead the league in total and pass defense and are #3 in rush defense. Seattle is 93/223 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 83/216. The Seahawks have forced 37 sacks and allowed 42 this season. Seattle is +10 in turnovers this season. The Seahawks have 3 defensive touchdowns and have allowed a defensive and a special teams touchdown.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has completed 63.1% his passes for 3,475 yards with 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also has 118 carries for 849 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Running back Marshawn Lynch has 280 carries for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns, plus 37 catches for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael will also get some carries.

Receiver Doug Baldwin has 66 catches for 825 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse has 38 catches for 537 yards and a touchdown. Kearse is probable with a hamstring injury. Ricardo Lockette, tight end Cooper Helfet and Turbin each have two touchdown catches. Helfet is questionable with a rib injury.  Tight end Zach Miller is out for the season with an ankle injury.  Twelve defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed as questionable or out.

Green Bay is 3-0-1 ATS after gaining more than 350 yards, 6-1-1 after failing to cover, 7-2-1 against teams with winning records, 3-7 against teams with winning home records, and 0-4 in fieldturf. The over is 4-1-1 in this series recently.

Seattle is 6-0-1 ATS after allowing more than 350 total yards, 5-0-1 after a straight up win, 4-0-1 after a cover, 6-1-1 against teams with winning road records,  5-1 in playoff games, 4-1 in January and in home playoff games, 19-6-1 against teams with winning records, 37-14-1 against NFC teams, 5-2 after scoring more than 30 points, 38-16-1 on fieldturf, 37-16-2 at home, and 36-16-1 overall. The home team is 4-1-2 ATS in this series recently.

As gimpy as Rodgers looked against the average Cowboys’ pass rush last week it will not be pretty against Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” defense. However, Carolina, not exactly an offensive juggernaut, was able to move the ball with relative ease against Seattle last week. Still I think the Seahawks win but I don’t think it will be a blowout like the first meeting this season.

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