Packers Seahawks Week 1 NFL Pick

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Green Bay Packers

vs.

Seattle Seahawks

Week 1 NFL Pick

9/4/14

When we last left Our heroes, the Green Bay Packers were getting bouNCed out of the playoffs Wild Card weekend 23-20 at the hands of the 49ers while the Seahawks were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with a conviNCing pounding of Peyton Manning and the Broncos 43-8. Now they face off in Seattle to kickoff the 2014 NFL season and the Seahawks are -5 point home favorites with a total of 46 at the home of reduced juice wagering, 5 dimes sportsbook.

As a handicapper, I don’t particularly care for the first 3 or 4 weeks of an NFL season. Maybe I’m just lazy. But I prefer to allow the teams to show their hands before I dig in. I like to know what I’m working with. Handicapping a week 1 matchup requires lots of assumptions. New players to evaluate with no NFL experieNCe. Old players to evaluate on new teams, and so on.

As a starting point though, if we’re going to handicap a week 1 Game, the logical place to start is the previous season. In this matchup, we’re looking at a Seattle Seahawks squad that was solid on both sides of the ball going up against a Packers team that was actually mediocre at best. Less than mediocre on the defensive side of the ball for sure. Hey, this was an 8-7-1 team.

If we look back to last seasons yards per point numbers we see the Packers finished with a 15.4 yards per point number, good for 20th overall in the NFL and on defense their ypp number was 13.9, good for 22nd overall.

Ah, but you say they spent the 2nd half of the year without Rodgers behind center. Ok. Fair enough. If we look at the Packers yards per point numbers in Games WITH Aaron Rodgers, we see that they were roughly 14.5 on both sides of the ball. Those are the numbers of an  average football team and while they may have been 6-3 with Rodgers, those 6 wins came against non playoff teams.

You see, you can look at offensive and defensive rankings in different categories, such as passing yards and rushing yards or points for and against but the yards per point number tells a more complete story. If you’re not converting those yards you GAin into points, or the opposite on defense, there’s a problem.

The Seahawks were 5th overall for their offensive ypp number at 13 and their defensive number was 19, good for 3rd overall. Those are Super Bowl Champion numbers. So we have to ask Ourselves heading into this Game, has enough changed in the off season to the point that we’d expect these numbers to differ all that much this year?

Perhaps a tad. Rodgers is back and that will give the offense a boost for sure but I don’t see much changing on the defensive side of the ball. This isn’t college football and Texas A&M or the old Mike Leach Texas Tech teams where you could forget about the defense and simply outScoreteams. You need a defense to win consistently in the NFL.

I think this is a tall order for the Packers. The Seahawks have without a doubt the best home field edge in the NFL and that can only be magnified on the night they raise the Championship banner. Until proven otherwise, I’d expect the Seahawks to pick up where they left off.

In the NFL, you often have to toss the pointspread and focus on picking the straight up winner. If you tell me you think the Seahawks will win the Game but not cover the -5, I’ll tell you no one can handicap a Game that closely in the NFL. If you’re betting on the Packers, you better be doing so because you think they’ll win this Game straight up, making the points a bonus.

That being said, Seattle -5