The final game of the NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs will see the Seattle Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers today (6:40 PM ET Sunday on Fox).
The winner will advance to the NFC Championship where, after winning their matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, the San Francisco 49ers await. Will the Niners get another chance to take down their NFC West rival or will it be the Packers who get one step closer to winning their second Super Bowl of the Aaron Rodgers era?
On Saturday, the 49ers and Tennessee Titans booked their spots into the NFC and AFC Championship games respectively and today, we’ll find out who their opponents are. The first game of the day pits the highest remaining seed in the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs against the Houston Texans. Hopefully this preview, and its Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers predictions, can unravel who gets to the NFC Championship game.
Both teams have a strong chance to get there as among the new look playoff field, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers are the only quarterbacks not only to have won a Super Bowl, but also to have played in one. Now, those trips were several years ago at this point as recently, neither the Packers nor Seahawks have been the dominant forces they once were. That is not to say however, that they can’t recapture that glory. In fact, for one of these teams, a win today puts them right back on the path to another Lombardi Trophy.
Can Russell Wilson Win in Green Bay?
Since entering the NFL in 2012, Russell Wilson has been one of the best at his position. Showing off his skills with both his arm and his legs, the now 31-year-old Wilson won the Rookie of the Year award in 2012. Three years later, Wilson was the NFL’s leader in passer rating and two years after that he finished as the league’s touchdown leader. In 2013, Wilson, in just his second year in the league, led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory. Additionally, Wilson has been named to seven pro bowls and this year, received his first All-Pro designation being named to the second-team.
Wilson and the Seahawks have found great success in the last seven-plus years, including a 4-3 head-to-head record against the Packers, who due to the “Fail Mary,” have become somewhat of a rival for Seattle. Among that record, are four wins in Seattle where the 12th Man is a very real and fierce advantage, and three losses in Green Bay.
The first time the Packers and Seahawks met was in the third week of the 2012 NFL season, where the Fail Mary game took place. With the NFL refs on strike, replacement officials were charged with calling the game. Close throughout, things came down to the final play, a Hail Mary attempt by Wilson. The ball made it to the end zone where both Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and Packers defender M.D Jennings seemed to have caught the ball at the same time. As the players jostled for the ball, opposing calls had both the Packers and Seahawks with possession. In the end, simultaneous possession was the call, meaning, by rule, advantage went to the receiver.
Seattle won the game but not without controversy as later review revealed that Tate committed offensive pass interference which if called, would have negated the touchdown. Additionally, it was questioned whether or not Jennings had possession of the ball before Tate, something that would have voided the simultaneous possession call. The game drew so much negative attention that the league was compelled to end the referee strike and get the original refs back to work the following week.
In 2014, the Seahawks and Packers met in the regular season opener, their first game since the Fail Mary. Seattle won easily before going on to beat the Packers yet again in the NFC Championship that season. The victory sent Seattle to their second Super Bowl in a row where they lost to the New England Patriots. Rodgers and co didn’t get their first win against Wilson’s Seahawks until week two of the 2015 season. However, after starting his career 3-0 against the Packers, this was Wilson’s first of three losses in a row against Green Bay. It wasn’t until 2018 that the Seahawks got back in the win column, defeating the Packers by a final of 27-24.
It’s hard to figure out why exactly Wilson hasn’t been able to carry his magic into Lambeau Field and if that pattern will continue. All we know is that Wilson is coming off a great season, especially considering how injury-ridden the Seahawks have been. As Seattle looks to return to the NFC Championship for the first time 2014, they will need Wilson to do something he’s never been able to do, win at Lambeau Field. They’ll need him to do it with one of the worst teams Seattle has put out during Wilson’s tenure. Defensively, the Legion of Boom is no more, and offensively, Wilson’s weapons aren’t as plentiful as they have been. Today will be a tough task no doubt, but if anyone can do it, it’s the NFL’s original magic man.
Our Preview’s Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers Predictions, Betting Lines & Picks Verdict
Wilson’s inability to win in Green Bay is a big story to follow, but there are several others that could impact this game. Today, Rodgers will lead the Packers to the postseason hoping for the team’s first playoff win since 2016.
It would also be his first without longtime head coach Mike McCarthy, who was fired mid-season last year but was recently hired as the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Rodgers excelled under McCarthy but has not quite found that dynamic yet with the NFL’s youngest head coach, Matt LaFleur.
As mentioned in this preview of the NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs, in Seattle, the Legion of Boom is no more. Seattle finished the year ranked with just the 26th overall defense. It has been a hard fall from the top unit that the Seahawks previously boasted when they were at their best. Rodgers and the league-leading running back in terms of touchdowns from scrimmage (19) will look to take advantage of this as this is the worst Seattle defense he has faced.
It’s hard to imagine a team as banged up as Seattle finding a way to win against a team as capable as the Packers. Green Bay hasn’t been perfect this year but they have found great success in one-score games, going 8-1 on the year. That is credit to Rodgers and his finding ways to win. Rodgers won’t need to be the Rodgers of old today if the Packers want to win. He has enough help around him that less than perfection can still get it done. This is the playoffs and that tends to be when Rodgers finds another level. He hasn’t won a playoff game in three seasons. That changes this year.
These are our Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers predictions with the pick of the lines and odds from the betting sites: