Week 11 of the NFL season kicks off in Seattle, as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks play host to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. After winning 4 games in 5, the Seahawks return home after consecutive losses to the two Los Angeles sides. The Packers make the trip to Seattle with a .500 4-4-1 record and in 3rd place in the NFC North. With how competitive the NFC playoff picture is, a loss for either team here will likely end their playoff hopes for the 2018 campaign. As such, I expect these two teams to come out with a sense of urgency and lay it all on the line. Let’s take a look at where the value lies in this replay of the 2015 NFC Championship.
Where to Watch: ESPN, 7 Mate or NFL Game Pass Friday 12:20 pm
The 4-5 Seahawks enter this one off consecutive hard-fought losses to the Chargers and Rams. The rushing attack has performed much better of late, putting up an impressive 273 yards and a score against the Rams, averaging 8 yards per attempt. QB Russell Wilson is also enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, completing 66% of his passes for 21 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions so far. In Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin, he has one of the better deep-threat Wide Receiving duos in the league.
Defensively, the Seahawks have been largely very good this season. They’ve held their opponents to 17 points or less on 4 occasions so far, really throttling anaemic offences. That said, they just weren’t a match for the dynamic Rams passing attack last week. They allowed a comfortable 318 yards and 2 scores to Goff through the air, as Cooks and Woods both had big days. Similarly, they struggled to contain star RB Todd Gurley, who added 160 total yards and a score of his own. Against Aaron Rodgers and Co, they’ll need to be back to their best this week.
Green Bay Packers
The 4-4-1 Packers got back on track last week with a comfortable 31-12 home win over Miami. RB Aaron Jones led the way with 145 yards and 2 touchdowns as he rejuvenated the rushing attack. This allowed Aaron Rodgers to take on more of a game manager role, as he threw for an efficient 199 yards and 2 scores. Receiver Davante Adams continued his excellent start to the campaign, adding 2 further touchdowns to bring his total to 9. He is capably supported by both Randall Cobb and Jimmy Graham, who combine to form an excellent pass-catching trio.
Defensively, their performance was much better against the Dolphins last week. They completely shut down QB Brock Osweiler, allowing under 6 yards per pass attempt and forcing 2 costly turnovers. The pass rush was also back with a vengeance, enjoying 6 sacks on the afternoon. One area that will need some improvement is the rush defence, which allowed 5.7 yards per attempt to the Dolphins. Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Mike Daniels lead the way for what is a strong front seven. Against this dynamic Seahawks offence, this will likely be the matchup that defines the game.
The Seahawks are in a unique position in the sense that they’ve only played 3 home games through their first 9. Two of these have been narrow losses against the two strong home Los Angeles teams, who have a combined 16-3 record so far this season. Seattle has historically been a very strong team at home, both straight up and against the spread. Their loud fans have helped to form a ‘12th man’ that has done a great job of disrupting opposing offences.
Against a Packers side that has been very inconsistent to start the season, I see no reason why this trend can’t continue here. Whilst they have had a tough schedule, the Packers are actually 0-4 on the road this season. They’ve lost by an average of double digits to the Redskins, Lions and Patriots, managing a close loss against the Rams as well. Even in-home wins over the Bears and 49ers, they’ve only managed to narrowly eke things out. Unfortunately for Green Bay fans, I expect their winless road start to continue here.
Under 49.5 Points
The Seahawks have almost gone back to their roots this season, taking part in a lot of low-scoring defensive battles. Aside from their two games against the Rams, their match total has fallen under this line in their last 6 outings. Coach Pete Carroll has been looking to control the game on the ground in recent weeks, relying on RB trio Chris Carson, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny to slow the game down.
Even the Packers are showing an increasing trend towards the under, both of their last 2 games falling under the total. The emergence of RB Aaron Jones should take some pressure of Aaron Rodgers and help Green Bay in the time of possession battle. With both team’s seasons on the line here, I expect more of a conservative and defensive battle. 49.5 points gives us some strong room to play with and I’m confident in the under here.
1st TD Scorer: Davante Adams
This is an effective hedge against my Seahawks -2.5 but still provides a scenario where both bets could easily cash. Whilst the Seahawks lack a go-to threat in the red-zone, Adams has very much established himself as one for Green Bay. He has 9 receiving touchdowns so far this season, including 5 in his last 4 games. His unique combination of size, strength and elite hands make him a difficult matchup for most Cornerbacks. With the Packers an aerial threat from anywhere on the field, I’m confident Aaron Rodgers will look Davante’s way early and often.
Score Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 27-21 Green Bay Packers.