Thursday's NFL matchup between the Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) and Seattle Seahawks (4-5) is an important one for both teams as they attempt to stay in the NFC playoff race. The loser would likely need to win out to have a shot at a Wild Card spot, so the quarterbacks will get a lot of attention as they prepare for this prime-time affair.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are listed as 2.5-point home favorites on the Thursday Night Football odds against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. However, their respective running games will likely be the key in this one.
Last week versus the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams, Seattle nearly pulled off the upset in a 36-31 loss by rushing for 273 yards on 34 carries and one touchdown. Ultimately, Wilson needed to pass more at the end of the game in an effort to win it and fell short. But the Seahawks did an excellent job running the ball nonetheless.
This week, expect Seattle to employ a similar offensive attack, with rookie running back Rashaad Penny scoring at least one touchdown at odds of +262 (bet $100 to win $262). Penny scored his first touchdown last week and totaled 108 rushing yards on 12 carries. Green Bay has given up 120.9 rushing yards per game and nine total touchdowns.
The Packers also enjoyed some success on the ground last week in a 31-12 rout of the Miami Dolphins at home.
Second-year running back Aaron Jones broke out with 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and he is also a solid wager to score again at +183. If you think Jones will score twice for the second straight game, you can get +600, or +2100 on three or more touchdowns. Penny is +1700 to score two or more.
Another player to keep an eye on in this game is former Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham. After three somewhat disappointing seasons in Seattle, Graham chose to sign with Green Bay as another offensive weapon for Rodgers. Graham is +1300 to score the first touchdown along with Penny, and both players have solid value at that price.
Like Penny, you can get +262 that Graham will score anytime in the game on Thursday night.