NFL Betting Free Pick: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
NFL FREE PICK: Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
#307 Seattle +4 (Sunday, January 12th @ 6:40pm ET)
For my money, the NFL Divisional Round playoff weekend is the best two days of football each year. Just four games. The top seeds coming off of a bye week and are (in theory) well rested. Winners to the conference championship games for a chance to play on the biggest stage.
Following the Wild Card games, a clear theme emerged. Oddsmakers severely overestimated the expected offensive outputs. All four games went UNDER the closing total, with an average cover margin of 9.1 points. And all four were close, one score games.
Week after week, the Seattle Seahawks have played in (and mostly won) close games. Fans will typically fall on one of two sides: one being that the Seahawks may not be as good as their record indicates, while the other side believes they are a team that has the wherewithal to manage to consistently win one possession games. After watching the Seahawks all season, I am in the latter camp.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense has averaged 5.8 YPP this season (10th in the league) and has leaned on Tyler Lockett as his most reliable receiving option. Emerging star D.K. Metcalf is second on the team in targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns and coming off of his best performance last weekend where he looked uncoverable at times against the Eagles. The running game will be important in this matchup, as is usually the case this deep into the season. Due to injuries, Travis Homer has been thrust into the spotlight and performed fairly well (4.3 yards per carry), but Marshawn Lynch in his return from retirement has not met any type of expectations. The Seahawks best rushing option has been Wilson as he navigates his way out of the pocket.
On the other sideline, the Packers offense led by Aaron Rodgers has been largely underwhelming all season. Managing just 5.4 yards per play (18th in the NFL), the quarterback has struggled to find a viable receiving option beyond Davante Adams. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has somehow made Allen Lazard and Geronimo Allison look serviceable! When will the shortage of weapons catch up to the Green Bay offense? Interestingly, as the weather has turned, so has the Packers productivity and I would argue that the shortfall of offensive options has already manifested itself.
In their last four games (all low-scoring wins), the Packers have managed:
Week 14: 5.7 YPP at home against the terrible last place Redskins team that was a one score game for virtually the entire last three quarters of the game.
Week 15: 5.0 YPP against a Bears team that had a minus-three turnover margin in the game, but the Packers still ended up winning just a one score game.
Week 16: 5.1 YPP, against an above league-average Vikings defense (managing just 9 points in the first half)
Week 17: 5.0 YPP, in a grinding game which the Packers managed just 3 points in the first half against a terrible Lions team.
I’m left wondering (and I’m certainly not alone), how did the Packers go 13-3 and get a two-seed in the highly competitive NFC? Therein lies a question I’ve been asking myself for the last month while watching Packers games.
In the end, I trust Seattle and Russell Wilson to continue the trend of winning one score games. Take the Seahawks and the points, in what I expect to be a low scoring game, with points at a premium.