The Green Bay Packers (1-0) host the Seattle Seahawks (0-1) in a game that may prove to be a déjà vu preview of the second NFC Championship between the two teams in as many years (8.30pm ET, Sunday on NBC).
The Packers-Chicago Bears rivalry, with 190 games played since 1921, is the longest in the NFL. The teams are in the same division, fighting for the same playoff spots. In fact, the rivalry has gotten so heated over the years, it’s expanded to the rest of the Green Bay-Chicago sports scene. The Cubs hate the Brewers (MLB), the Bucks always want to beat the Bulls (NBA), the Blackhawks would undoubtedly dislike the Green Bay NHL team if they ever got one. Point being, this rivalry is historic and it’s personal.
In the case of Seattle-Green Bay, it’s not that historic. The Seahawks are just a baby, only having been added as an NFL expansion team back in 1976. Not to mention, they’ve only been in the NFC since 2002. The teams have only played each other 18 times, not really enough to build a rivalry. But the competitiveness was there as the Seahawks and Packers were both playoff contenders for much of the mid-2000s and again from 2010 onward.
Most importantly for this particular rivalry however, is probably the element of the personal, one that has led to some controversial finishes and some bitter defeats, both things you can’t escape in a true rivalry.
Fueling Green Bay is an NFC Championship loss from just one year ago. The Packers carried a 19-7 lead over the Seahawks with just three minutes remaining but Seattle struck back adding two late touchdowns. The second of these scores was memorable, but not in a good way for Green Bay, as it was set up by an onside kick that just slipped through the fingers of Brandon Bostick. This enabled Seattle to tie the game and then win it in overtime.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for the Packers but it wasn’t the first time Seattle got the better of them at CenturyLink Field. The infamous ‘Fail Mary’ game took place there as replacement referees made a controversial call on a pass to Seahawks’ WR Golden Tate in the final seconds of a Seattle victory. This game was the first in what would become three painful defeats for the Packers at the hands of the Seahawks.
But 2015 is a new year and Green Bay is a new team. In fact, like all players and coaches say, revenge is the furthest thing on their minds. The Packers are just out to start the season 2-0 and prove the sportsbooks right for making them Super Bowl favorites. Defeating Seattle and giving them a 0-2 start, well, that would just be the icing on the cake.
Aaron Rodgers vs Seattle’s D
Over the past few seasons, there has been something almost myth-like about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (pictured): the numbers he puts up, the consistency in his performances, the ability to make even the best defenses look mediocre. He’s the best at his position in the NFL right now and there’s not even much of a debate. But even Superman had his kryptonite and perhaps for Rodgers, that would be Seattle.
Rodgers’ first real NFL season came in 2008. Since then, he’s played the Seahawks five times and not once has he thrown for over 240 yards. Only once did he throw for more than one touchdown in a single game. Rodgers’ average total in these five contests is 207 yards and he’s only thrown for five touchdowns and three interceptions. By contrast, the defending MVP, since 2008 and minus the Seattle games, averages 279 yards per game
The Packers are 2-3 against the Seahawks in those meetings and are 0-3 against the combination of QB Russell Wilson, head coach Pete Carroll and the Legion of Boom.
Working in Seattle’s favor, despite their defense giving up 34 points in a loss to the St. Louis Rams, is the fact that Green Bay is without its top receiver in Jordy Nelson. The Packers’ next guys up for receptions, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, caught a combined nine passes for less than 100 yards and no touchdowns. James Jones, in his second stint with the Packers, added four more catches, two of which found their way into the endzone.
This was against a Chicago Bears defense that allowed the third worst passing yards per game last season. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are better than anything Green Bay faced last week and given Rodgers’ track record against the Seahawks, it could be a long day in Lambeau.
There is the wrinkle. It is at Lambeau, a place where the Packers have been incredibly dominant, a place where the team hasn’t lost since 2013, a place where Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception since 2013 either and a place where the Seahawks have fallen each of the last five times, most recently a 48-10 rout in 2009.
Another wrinkle is the absence of Rodgers’ least favorite Seahawk, Kam Chancellor, who has recorded double digit tackles in two of the three games he has played against Green Bay. Chancellor is continuing his holdout and for the Packers, this could end up being the difference maker.
Our Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Preview’s Betting Picks
Home sweet Lambeau. There’s just something about it that makes it the friendliest home stadium perhaps in the entire league. Rodgers loves playing there, he’s made his career playing there and he’ll be ready to add another victory to that impressive career. Here are our preview’s betting picks:
- Take the Packers to cover the -3.5pts spread @ standout best betting odds of +100 (evens) with 5Dimes. It is -110 with Bovada and BetOnline sportsbooks.
- Also, bet on the under 49 total points for the game @ -110 odds with any of Bovada, Betonline or 5Dimes. These two teams are known for playing low-scoring contests.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.