The Green Bay Packers (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) rambled to the NFC North title this season, and assured themselves of that when they scored a late-season win over a Minnesota Vikings squad that was without Dalvin Cook. They don’t hit you over the head with incredible numbers but then again, neither do the Seattle Seahawks (12-5 SU, 8-8-1 ATS), who pretty much rode the ingenuity of Russell Wilson to the playoffs. Now these teams meet for the right to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game, and they’ll do it at Lambeau Field, beginning at 6:40 PM ET.
Fox televises it, and BetAnySports customers can watch it and place wagers in the real time using the software from Sports Betting Ultra.
It has been a highly successful first season for Packers coach Matt LaFleur.
He came in as part of the wave of good feeling toward Sean McVay as an offensive “guru” and seemed to have some designs on tweaking his new quarterback to make him more efficient. He felt Aaron Rodgers improvised a little too much, and LaFleur preferred that he operate a little more within a structure, utilizing a lot of play-action stuff like Jared Goff did with the Rams, when LaFleur was first the QB coach, then the offensive coordinator.
In some circles there was a concern as to whether Rodgers was going to take easily to some of this. But I think that got drowned out by the sense of relief that he was free of what had apparently become a strained relationship with Mike McCarthy.
And because Green Bay finished 13-3, its best record since 2011, when Rodgers was the MVP, most folks probably assumed that everything went nothing but smoothly.
But I wonder.
Rodgers once led the NFL in yards per attempt (9.2 in 2011), but this season he’s managed just seven yards per throw. And for someone who isn’t moving it for a lot of yards per attempt, he’s got a rather low completion percentage of 62%. Yeah I know; when I first started watching the NFL I never thought I would be referring to 62% as something ordinary in the way of accuracy, but when you look at Rodgers’ career, it is his lowest percentage in twelve seasons since becoming the starter in Green Bay.
He’s had his lowest figure ever in the Total QB Rating that is computed and compiled by the ESPN guys. And he hasn’t hit 100 in the more standard quarterback rating in any of the last three seasons.
In the NFL playoff betting odds that have been posted on this game, the Packers are favored at home:
Green Bay Packers -4
Seattle Seahawks +4
Over 45 points -110
Under 45 points -110
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In 2014 Rodgers averaged 7.68 NET yards per attempt (which takes sack figures into account). He hasn’t come to within a yard of that since. In 2019, his attempts have traveled an average of 5.5 yards past the line of scrimmage, and while that is a little farther than notorious short-armer Drew Brees (5.3), it still places him 23rd among the league’s quarterbacks. That’s in stark contrast to Wilson at 7.0.
Okay, so Rodgers is doing a lot of dinking and a lot of dunking. He is playing for a coach who emphasizes time of possession and a slower game pace (the Packers are sixth at 31:27 per game and fifth from the bottom at 28.9 seconds between plays). He has a couple of pretty capable backs (Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams) to help him carry that out. And Green Bay has topped 24 points only once since it hung 31 on Kansas City on October 27.
Russell Wilson likes to go after the big play, but he’s not being aided by a top-flight running game right now, as Marshawn Lynch has had 18 carries for 41 yards in two games and Travis Homer has 28 total carries on the season. He may not be able to execute the entire game plan without someone like, say, Chris Carson to really keep defenses totally honest.
So this one shapes up very much like an “under” for me.
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