NFL Picks: Packers vs. Seahawks Week 1

Matthew Jordan

Friday, May 30, 2014 6:29 PM UTC

Friday, May. 30, 2014 6:29 PM UTC

With all due respect to the other 15 games in Week 1, they are all taking a backseat to the 2014 Thursday night season opener as Seattle hosts Green Bay. The Super Bowl champion Seahawks are 5.5-point favorites on NFL odds with a total of 45.

One Final Cheer For Last Year
Think Seattle's rabid 12th-Man fans will be fired up for this game?

It's the team's first home game (that counts) since the franchise's Super Bowl victory, and the championship banner will be raised. This could also easily be a playoff preview for this winter with the Packers favored to win the NFC North again at sportsbooks, and the Seahawks the same in the NFC West.

The defending Super Bowl champions won the first eight Kickoff Games once they started hosting them annually in 2004. The champs have lost the last two: The New York Giants by a touchdown at home against Dallas to begin the 2012 season, and the Baltimore Ravens were blown out by Denver last season. The Ravens had to play on the road because of a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles. No such problem this year as the Mariners are out of town.

Seattle QB Russell Wilson has lost just one home game in his young career so far, and that was Week 16 of last year against Arizona. The Seahawks used to just pummel people at CenturyLink Field, but they were in very tough playoff games there as well against New Orleans and San Francisco. Is the invincibility aura gone there? This will be the first time for some Seahawks fans to get a look at Percy Harvin in person. He played in just one regular-season game last year due to injury, but showed how dangerous he can be in the Super Bowl victory.

The last regular-season game Aaron Rodgers played was Week 17 of last season when he returned from missing half the season with a broken collarbone, and then broke the Bears' hearts in Chicago. Rodgers hit Randall Cobb on the game-winning 48-yard touchdown pass with under a minute left to clinch the NFC North. Rodgers didn't look too rusty in that game, but he was nowhere near as sharp at home in the wild-card loss to San Francisco, throwing for only 177 yards. Including that game, Green Bay was 6-3 last year in games Rodgers started, and finished. The other two losses were on the road (San Francisco and Cincinnati).

Last Meeting
In one of the most controversial endings in recent NFL history, Seattle beat visiting Green Bay 14-12 on a Monday night in Week 3 of the 2012 season. That was when the NFL regular officials were still locked out, which proved vital. The Seahawks got the winning touchdown on a 24-yard "Hail Mary/Fail Mary" pass from Wilson to Golden Tate as time expired. There were two problems with the replacement refs allowing that score: Tate had committed blatant offensive interference while the ball was still in the air, and then he was wrestling with Packers safety M.D. Jennings for possession of the ball, as the two came down to the turf. It appeared Tate only had perhaps a hand on part of the ball while Jennings had a vast majority of it. It was the first time that a game-winning touchdown was scored as time expired in the fourth quarter of a Monday Night Football game. It was, also, the first game-winning touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter for the Seahawks since 1990.

There was such an outrage after that call that the NFL agreed to a new deal with the regular refs, and they were back Week 4. That also was Green Bay's first road game of the season. Defenses ruled the night in the game, with neither side having more than 268 yards of offense. The teams also combined for 24 penalties totaling nearly 250 yards. It was not a pretty game (though for some it ended up with . Rodgers was held without a TD pass, while Wilson had two, both to Tate. Marshawn Lynch ran 25 times for 98 yards. The Packers' streak of winning six straight road openers was snapped, suprising handicappers, NFL bettors and fans, alike.

Free NFL picks: Seahawks -5.5 and 'under' 45 points on NFL odds. Green Bay is 1-4 ATS in its past five September games. Seattle is 4-0 ATS in its past four in the month. The 'under' is 7-0 in Seattle's past seven against the NFC.


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