Moore Predicts: All signs point to Seahawks’ season ending in Green Bay
Everything about the Seahawks-Packers matchup has been analyzed and micro-analyzed all week long. Right when you think you might see an edge for one team over the other, you’ll see another stat or fun fact that makes you change your mind.
For instance, the Packers are 31st in the league in explosive plays allowed, giving up 15 plays of 40 yards or more this season. That’s perfect because Russell Wilson has had 10 passes of 40 yards or more this year and connected with DK Metcalf on two long passes last week at Philadelphia.
But then you see that Wilson is 0-3 in his career at Green Bay, completing 57 percent of his passes with six interceptions, including five in one game, a 38-10 loss in 2016.
But then you see that Wilson is really good in games when the temperature is between 21 and 40 degrees, with a 97.6 passer rating in 13 starts. He has his best stats in this temperature range, and it’s supposed to be 24 degrees at kickoff at 5:30 p.m. central time.
So all of these things are had to figure out. If you favor the Packers, you love that they’re 7-1 at home this year, and you talk about Aaron Rodgers being great against the Seahawks at home in his career, completing 72 percent of his passes.
A Seahawks’ fan would counter by saying: “So what?” while noting that the Packers had the 27th-easiest schedule in the league. Guess who’s schedule was the toughest? The Seahawks’.
When you look at both sides of the ball, where is the biggest advantage? I’d say the Seahawks have a slight advantage with their offense against the Packers’ defense, but it’s mitigated by injuries along the left side of the line. Duane Brown and his replacement at left tackle the last two games, George Fant, might both be out of the Green Bay game. And left guard Mike Iupati might miss his second straight game too.
Plus as much as you like to think the Seahawks should be able to run against the Packers’ 23rd-ranked rushing defense, can they do it with backups on the offensive line and a makeshift running back tandem of Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch?
To be honest, I have my doubts about that.
Then when you flip it around, the healthier Packers have an advantage over a Seahawks defense that ranked 26th overall in the regular season. Let’s face it, it’s not a good defense, equally vulnerable against the run and the pass.
The only thing that’s helped them out is their ability to create turnovers, particularly when Quandre Diggs plays. In his six games, the Seahawks have 16 take-aways, but they’ve gone three consecutive games without one, and Diggs played at Philadelphia.
The Packers aren’t apt to turn it over. Rodgers threw four interceptions all year, and running back Aaron Jones has fumbled only twice. That’s been a big factor in the Packers having the third-best turnover differential in the league at +12, tied with the Seahawks.
History doesn’t favor the Seahawks either. Road teams have gone 1-7 the last two years in the division round. And the Seahawks are 0-7 on the road in this round. They haven’t won since their first division-round appearance at Miami when they shocked Dan Marino and the Dolphins 27-20 in 1983.
You can rightfully expect Wilson to buck all of these odds and trends because he typically shines in the brightest of spotlights. But I think he’ll be running for his life more than usual this week – look for Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, who combined for 25.5 sacks, to take advantage of the banged-up offensive line and make it difficult for Wilson to hook up with Metcalf and Tyler Lockett downfield.
The Packers are favored by 4 1/2 points, and I see them winning and covering the spread.
Prediction: Packers 27, Seahawks 20