The best matchup in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season might be Sunday afternoon’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. The two teams are heavy favorites to win their respective divisions, and they have the best Super Bowl betting odds in the NFC.

Green Bay is a three-point home favorite, via OddsShark, indicating that the two teams are even on a neutral field. Here’s a closer look at the Week 1 game, including a prediction against the spread:

Why Green Bay could cover the spread

Few quarterbacks are able to put up big numbers against Seattle’s pass defense, which has been the backbone of the team’s success over the last five years. The Seahawks were one of just two teams to hold Tom Brady without a touchdown pass in 2016, while MVP Matt Ryan threw one of his seven interceptions when facing the “Legion of Boom.”

Aaron Rodgers, however, is the exception to the rule.

Green Bay’s quarterback was nearly perfect in the Packers’ 38-10 rout of the Seahawks last year. Rodgers was nearly as good in 2015 when Green Bay beat Seattle, completing 76.8 percent of his 56 pass attempts in those two contests for five touchdowns and no interceptions.

While still one of the NFL’s best, Seattle’s secondary can be vulnerable against the NFC’s top quarterback. If the game somehow resembles a shootout, that will bode in Green Bay’s favor. Sunday’s over/under is 51.

The Seahawks don’t have an offensive line that will allow them to trade scores with the Packers. Green Bay sacked Russell Wilson three times in last year’s matchup, and they ranked sixth in the league with 40 total sacks on the year.

Why Seattle could cover the spread

Seattle might have more talent than anyone in the NFC, which is why they had the best Las Vegas Super Bowl odds of anyone in the conference for much of the offseason.  Aside from a weak offensive line, the Seahawks are relatively strong at every position. Picking against them as an underdog anytime this year will be a risky proposition.

If the Seahawks give Rodgers enough time to throw, he’s going to find receivers. That’s just what happens when you face one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Rodgers, however, can’t do it all by himself, and Green Bay’s offense could struggle if the 10 other players wearing Packers uniforms are dominated by Seattle’s defense.

The Seahawks might have the league’s best front seven after making a trade a week before the start of the season. The team added Sheldon Richardson to a defensive line that already includes Frank Clark and Cliff Avril, both of whom had double-digit sacks in 2016. Defensive end Michael Bennett has made two consecutive Pro Bowls, and linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner were also named to the NFC All-Star team last season.

Russell Wilson’s five interceptions against Green Bay last year were an anomaly. He should perform much better Sunday, coming off a season in which he was hobbled throughout the year.


Seattle vs. Green Bay is probably the most difficult game to pick on the Week 1 schedule. Will it be the Seahawks’ vaunted defense or the Packers’ Hall-of-Fame quarterback that comes out on top?

Both Rodgers and the game’s location might be the ultimate deciding factors. Lambeau Field is one of the most difficult places for visiting teams to play, and Seattle is much better at home. The Seahawks have won at least one playoff game in each of the last five years, though they’ve managed to win just 22 of 40 regular-season road games during that time.

Green Bay over Seattle, 26-20