The NFC Championship game is finally here and what a matchup to look forward to. The Green Bay Packers will enter enemy territory for a 3:05 PM Eastern Time tilt against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The Packers were able to knock off the Dallas Cowboys in interesting fashion last week at Lambeau Field after earning a first round bye by winning the NFC North while the Seahawks dominated their second-half opponents and were once again crowned NFC West Division Champions. If you were to pick two teams at the start of this season to square off in this game I’m thinking many would have selected these very two clubs as it almost seems like this game was meant to be.
The Packers are an offensively-driven team that can hurt you in many ways with the football but the Seahawks are the league’s best defense and have held that title for the better part of the last two years. CenturyLink Field will be rocking as the 12th man will be in full force Sunday afternoon, giving Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense all they can handle and then some. Buckle up and get ready for what will be one of the best football games you will see all year while we take a closer look at these two teams and the matchup that lies ahead.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay controversially earned their ticket to Seattle last week with a homefield win over the Dallas Cowboys in what will likely be remembered as the Dez Bryant no catch game, however there’s little doubt that this team deserves to be playing in the NFC Championship game Sunday afternoon. Green Bay was won 12 of their last 14 games this season and are certainly out to avenge a season-opening loss they suffered about 4 months ago in the very stadium where they will play in once again Sunday afternoon. Despite Aaron Rodgers limping around the field last week against the Cowboys, the Packers offense managed 416 yards and rushed for over 100 yards as well. Obviously the yards will be tougher to come by against Seattle’s ferocious defense, but make no mistake this offense is still clicking at a nice pace. Receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are quite possibly the best 1-2 punch in the NFL as they teamed up for a whopping 25 touchdowns this season and are likely to see plenty of targets given Seattle’s ability to stop the run. Throw in rookie Devante Adams and his 117 yards and a touchdown last week against Dallas and you can see Aaron Rodger’s most definitely has his choice of threats in the passing game. Although not mentioned very often, the Packers defense has performed at a fairly high level over the second half of the season as they have surrendered more than 21 points just once over their last nine contests and are facing a Seattle offense that can struggle at times. The Packers defense only gave up just over 86 yards rushing per game over their last eight regular season games and will definitely be tested again as Marshawn Lynch is going to see a lot of touches. If the Green Bay defense can hold up while Aaron Rodgers is likely to find some targets in the passing game, the Packers have a real chance at knocking off the defending champs. However, If Rodgers calf is going to force him to limp all day long and the defense gives up some points then the Packers are likely to be sent back to Wisconsin pondering what could have been.
Russell Wilson is almost built for games like this. Seattle has one of the most impressive QB’s in the game as his leadership and his will are infectious throughout the Seattle locker room. I would even go so far as to say Wilson inspires a Seattle defense that gave up just 15.9 points per game this season, the best mark in the NFL for the second straight season. This defense is extremely stout, and in CenturyLink Field they are a force. Seattle has won 25 of their last 27 games at home and that is thanks in very large part to the defensive unit. Richard Sherman is the self-proclaimed best Cornerback in the league and Kam Chancellor is flat out scary as a safety. If Rodgers’ calf hampers him Sunday afternoon there is a good chance this defense will make him pay for it. They only gave up 186 pass yards per game to begin with while surrendering only 82 yards per game on the ground. I’m interested to see how Green Bay’s offense will operate as Eddy Lacy could be a viable option all day long given Rodgers’ injury, however you know that this fantastic secondary will have plenty of chances to show off their ability once again on the big stage. Wilson and the Seattle offense put up 36 points on the Packers earlier this season and Marshawn Lynch found paydirt on two occasions. There is a good chance that Marshawn Lynch’s performance will be a large factor in deciding the outcome of this game. Seattle averaged 173 yards per game on the the ground this season, the best mark in the NFL and if they reach that average on Sunday I believe there is a good chance they become the first team to reach back-to-back Super Bowl’s in ten years. However, their 36 points earlier this season against Green Bay is the only time they have eclipsed 20 points against them since 2008, and you get the feeling they will likely need more than 20 on Sunday despite their stellar defense.
Packers vs Seahawks Spread and Total:
Seattle -8 (-105) @ 5dimes.eu
Green Bay +8 (-115)
OVER 46 (-110)
UNDER 46 (-110)
My Pick – PACKERS +8 (-115)
I just can’t count out Aaron Rodgers. In fact, I am getting Aaron Rodgers with a free touchdown and two point conversion here. The way Green Bay’s defense has held up and limited opponents over the better portion of the second half of the season, I don’t see Seattle scoring as much as they did in their first meeting against these Packers. This is the league’s best offense going up against the league’s best defense, but when you flip the script and look at Seattle’s minimal passing ability and Green Bay’s ability to stop the run, then you may see a clearer picture. Don’t get me wrong, the 12th man being in full effect will make things difficult on the Green Bay offense for sure, but this isn’t Aaron Rodgers’ and Mike McCarthy’s first rodeo in games like this. Getting this Green Bay offense with 8 free points is a blessing. Go ahead and lock in the Packers +8 and enjoy what will no doubt be a fantastic football game for the ages.