By Jim Moore
As a self-confessed blind squirrel, I’m surprised that I’m 2-0 at picking Seahawks games against the spread, choosing underdog winners and nailing it both times.
I took Arizona, as a 2.5-point dog, to beat the Seahawks 20-13 two weeks ago, and the Cardinals prevailed 20-16. Last week I took the Seahawks, as three-point dogs, to beat the Cowboys 24-17, and they won 27-7.
I’m looking for another acorn this week in the Green Bay-Seattle Monday night game. The Packers opened as 3.5-point favorites but are now listed as three-point favorites because more money is being bet on Seattle than Green Bay, thus the downward movement in the line.
The Packers have been so-so thus far, not really resembling the 15-1 team from last year. They lost 30-22 in their opener at Lambeau Field to the 49ers in a result that could be called shocking if the 49ers weren’t so damn good themselves. Then they beat the disheveled Bears 23-10 on “Thursday Night Football” but still didn’t look like an offensive juggernaut.
The Seahawks will have their hands full with Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, who leads the league with six sacks. (AP photo)
Through two games, the Packers are No. 23 in total offense in the NFL, averaging 322.5 yards. They’re 26th in rushing at 75.5 yards, which will probably go down this week, facing a Seahawks defense that is No. 2 against the run, allowing 46 yards a game.
At first glance, you look at this game and think the Seahawks have a decent shot at another upset. They’ll be amped to the max, playing in front of the 12th Man again. And the 12th Man will be more fired up than ever, wanting to unleash every distracting decibel on the Packers while hoping to impress a national-TV audience. That has to work in the Seahawks’ favor.
But don’t you think that Aaron Rodgers has faced this type of atmosphere before? Don’t you think that Rodgers, of all quarterbacks, is equipped to deal with the noise and a defense as tough as Seattle’s?
He could also have Greg Jennings, one of his go-to receivers who injured his groin in the opener and missed the Bears game. I can see the Packers being slowed by the Seahawks but not snuffed like Dallas was.
The other thing about the Cowboys, I just thought the Seattle game was a letdown spot for them, coming as it did after Dallas upset the Giants in the NFL season-opening game.
This isn’t a letdown spot for the Packers. I can’t imagine them being 15-1 last year and going 1-2 this year.
Raise your hand if you think Green Bay will score fewer than 20 points. I don’t think that will happen, and the Seahawks, as the Seattle Times’ Danny O’Neil reported, are 1-15 under Pete Carroll when the opponent scores more than 20 points.
Then again, you could argue that no one would have thought the Seahawks would hold Dallas to seven points, but they did. I don’t have a good comeback for that, but I still think the Packers are a better team than the Cowboys and will find their way to the end zone three or four times Monday night.
On the other side of the ball, as much as I like Russell Wilson and his potential, he’s still going to be a rookie starting his third game in the NFL. He will face a defense that leads the NFL in sacks with 11, led by Clay Matthews with six.
You could counter by saying that the Seahawks held Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware in check with a backup left tackle, Frank Omiyale, last week. And again, I wouldn’t have a good comeback for that either; maybe they’ll shut down Matthews, too.
As impressive as the Seahawks were against the Cowboys, I just can’t see it happening two weeks in a row. They’ll be competitive for awhile, but the Packers will take control in the second half and win going away.
My prediction: Packers 31, Seahawks 13