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NFL Betting: NFC Championship Game Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 1/17/2015 8:12:53 PM

The NFL playoffs are down to the conference championship games, with the winners advancing to Super Bowl XLIX on February 1. Who will emerge from the NFC on Sunday in Seattle?

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks – Sunday, January 18

The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks began the 2014 NFL season in Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 5. The Seahawks won that game, 36-16, and looked like a Super Bowl kind of team. Then, however, the Seahawks fell on hard times, losing three out of five games to fall to a 3-3 record. Stuck at 6-4, it seemed Seattle – three games behind the Arizona Cardinals – was not going to be able to return to the Super Bowl, primarily because it seemed there was no way for the team to win the NFC West and get a home game in the playoffs. Forget the first-round bye as a top-two seed. The Seahawks, in late November, had very little reason to expect anything beyond a number five playoff seed, which would have forced the team to win three road games in three weeks to make the playoffs.

Then, however, the Arizona Cardinals lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 30. The Seahawks won in Philadelphia against a hot Eagles team (at the time, before a December collapse) on Dec. 7. The San Francisco 49ers crumbled, enabling the Seahawks to win two games against the Niners in a span of two and a half weeks. Entering Dec. 21, Seattle was just one game behind Arizona. A win against the Cardinals in week 16 enabled Seattle to improbably shoot to the top spot in the NFC. Here, this Sunday, Seattle will host the NFC Championship Game for the second straight season. Now that the Seahawks have managed to return to this point, they are in their element. It’s going to be hard for Green Bay to win in Seattle, but if any quarterback can pull off the upset, it’s Aaron Rodgers.

Keep this in mind about Rodgers: Though he is not fully healthy or mobile, he was still able to throw rockets on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional playoffs. His game-winning touchdown pass was a laser threaded between two defenders. He can drive the ball down the field and generate big plays for the Packers. Green Bay also has the kind of running back, in Eddie Lacy, who can drain clock and keep Seattle’s offense off the field. If Lacy has a big day, Green Bay can set up play action and attack the Seahawks with success.

The big problem is going to be Rodgers’ calf injury. He’s just not going to be able to run much. On Saturday, Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton was able to run the ball just enough to keep Seattle’s defense off balance in the first half. With Rodgers being an immobile quarterback in this game, Seattle’s four-man pass rush is likely to generate a lot of pressure on Rodgers, which will probably limit his ability to go down the field on his pass routes. It’s hard to get past this part of the game – unless Green Bay’s offensive line plays its best game of the season, Seattle’s defense is likely to be too much for the Packers.

Pick: Seahawks -8 Check out NorthBet on Foursquare here and learn more about our sportsbook here.

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