Injury Concerns Put Packers In Tough Situation Versus Seahawks In NFC Championship Game
The Green Bay Packers suffered a 36-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the kickoff game of the 2014 NFL season. It only makes sense that they have come full circle for their shot at redemption and a Super Bowl berth. The Packers will visit Seattle in the NFC Championship game this Sunday and while a lot has changed since that initial meeting they still aren’t getting much respect from the experts that make the lines. Green Bay is listed as a 7.5-point underdog and while on the surface they have shown signs that they are a worth Super Bowl contender that number might not be that far off considering a key injury that could completely change the outlook for this contest.
NFC Championship Game
Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks
Sunday January 18, 2015 – 3:05 PM ET
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
NFL Betting Line: Seattle -7.5
Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a small calf tear that limited him in the NFC Divisional round win over the Dallas Cowboys and could have an even bigger impact on him in this game. Rodgers wasn’t able to move around much against the Dallas defense but that limitation could have an even bigger impact against the Seahawks pass rush.
NFL Betting Preview: Green Bay
Rodgers has always relied on his legs to move around and break the pocket when necessary and it has been a big part of his success behind an inconsistent offensive line. Now he will have to find a way to get the ball out sooner as the Seattle defense will undoubtedly try to attack from the edges and keep him from sliding outside. That will be tough with the Seahawks cornerbacks playing press coverage on the outside and trying to bump the Green Bay receivers at the line of scrimmage. The Packers will desperately need a big performance from Eddie Lacy in order to keep the Seattle defense honest and limit the amount of hits that Rodgers takes. Meanwhile, the defense also faces a tough test against an underrated offense that seems to play its best in the playoffs. Green Bay was able to at least contain DeMarco Murray last week and they will need to do the same here versus Marshawn Lynch as they try and force Russell Wilson to beat them.
NFL Betting Preview: Seattle
Wilson threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over the Carolina Panthers and once again it was his versatility and ability to move around that helped buy him time to make all of the throws. Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin are both capable of making big plays and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Seahawks used them to stretch the field again this weekend. Lynch was held to just 59 rushing yards against Carolina but should get more looks as Seattle attempts to stretch the Packers defense and keep the pressure off Wilson. Meanwhile, the Seahawks owned the league’s top-ranked pass defense this season and will do everything they can up front to get after Rodgers and force him to make mistakes. Seattle ranked third against the run so don’t expect them to give up much for Lacy either as they look to make the Green Bay offense more one-dimensional so that they can get after Rodgers in the pocket and take advantage of his limited mobility caused by the injury.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
A healthy Rodgers could have made the difference in the rematch but considering his limitations and the fact this game is in Seattle it’s hard to imagine the Packers getting the job done. The Seahawks saved their best play for the second half of the season and now they will take advantage of the added fortune of playing a quarterback that will be limited in the pocket as they make a statement en route to a second consecutive Super Bowl.
NFL Betting Pick: Seattle -7.5