Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM
After many long months of waiting for an NFL game that actually means something…the team that won the last game that mattered ushers in the new season when the World Champion Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers Thursday Night on NBC.
The age-old question will once again confront handicappers. Will Seattle suffer a “Super Bowl Letdown?” Many teams have stepped into this pothole (or fallen into this well never to climb back out!). Even teams who seemed immune to the possibility because of talent, depth, and attitude. Seattle is talking “repeat” rather than collapse. Let’s get you ready for this big TV game by reviewing the NOTEBOOK’S key indicator stats in the NFL…
2013 Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Green Bay: 8-7-1 (#28 schedule in USA Today)
Seattle: 13-3 (#7 schedule in USA Today)
Seattle was clearly the best team in football last year. They only last three games while playing a tough schedule. Their Super Bowl victim Denver was also 13-3, but did that against a league average schedule (and then was no match for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl!). Green Bay’s star quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed half the season with an injury. The Packers were 6-2 in the games he started and finished. But, they did enjoy a soft slate.
Green Bay: 6.0 on offense, 5.9 on defense
Seattle: 5.6 on offense, 4.4 on defense
Green Bay would have been better than +0.1 on a per-play basis if Rodgers had stayed in the lineup. But, they wouldn’t have made it all the way up to +1.2. Seattle own both sides of the ball, with a fantastic defense and a balanced offense that focused more on playing the field position game rather than piling up big yardage. Clear edge to Seattle here, even after you adjust for Rodgers playing at full strength. Green Bay’s defense graded out as one of the worst in the league on a per-play basis…and you can’t really blame Rodgers’ injury for that. They had trouble stopping people when he was healthy.
2013 Turnover Differential
Green Bay: -1
This is a big part of what set Seattle apart from the league. Playing the field position game allowed them to attack very aggressively on DEFENSE. That led to a league high 39 takeaways against only 17 offensive turnovers. Green Bay is less turnover prone than it looks above when Rodgers is healthy. But, NOBODY matches Seattle right now in the risk/reward department.
2013 Market Performance
Green Bay: 7-9
The Seahawks managed to stay ahead of the market even though they were a popular Super Bowl pick before the season started. Everyone knew they’d be great. But, Las Vegas prices could never capture just how great. Seattle covered more than two-thirds of the time as a popular betting team! Green bay can cover spreads too at full strength. But, their soft defense makes it difficult to protect big leads at their highest prices.
Current Line: Seattle by 6, total of 46
Home field is usually worth a field goal in the NFL, though some would argue that Seattle deserves (and gets) 3.5 or 4 points because of the unique dynamics of their home site. The market is telling you that the Seahawks are about a field goal better on a neutral field. Note that the line has been slowly rising through the week…with a move from 5.5 up to 6 just as we were compiling this preview. Sources tell us that’s a mix of sharp and square action. Sharps wanting Green Bay will either way to see if +6.5 or +7 becomes available, or will settle for the six.
What does JIM HURLEY think about Thursday’s NFL season opener? Don’t make a move in the market until you find out! You can purchase all Thursday games (NFL, college football, and baseball) during the day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
We hop back to college football the next two days here in the NOTEBOOK to get you ready for the two most exciting Saturday matchups. Then, it’s back to prime time previews in the NFL, following our standard regular season football preview schedule…
Friday: Early College Preview…USC at Stanford
Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Michigan State at Oregon
Sunday: NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Indianapolis at Denver
Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…San Diego at Arizona
An incredible weekend of TV football begins with Packers/Seahawks Thursday Night. THIS is what you’ve been waiting for. Not preseason scrimmages and college cupcake games. Get the best in BIG-TIME FOOTBALL from THE BIGGEST NAME IN HANDICAPPING…JIM HURLEY!