Game of Issues

After meeting in the playoffs last season, the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks were both expected to contend for division crowns again.

However, with struggling defenses and banged-up quarterbacks, both teams are currently struggling.

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The Packers try to avoid losing four straight games for the first time in three years on Sunday when they visit a Seahawks team trying to bounce back from a humiliating defeat.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Seahawks -1 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Packers +1 (View NFL Football bet percentages).

Green Bay (2-3) and Seattle (1-3) won the NFC North and West, respectively, last season, and matched up in a divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on Jan. 12. The Packers fell behind by two touchdowns four minutes into the game, but Brett Favre rallied them to a 42-20 victory - his final win as a Packer.

Aaron Rodgers got off to a solid start as Favre's replacement, as the Packers opened 2008 with consecutive victories. Very little has gone right since, however, as Green Bay has dropped its last three games.

Rodgers, who sprained his shoulder in Week 4's 30-21 loss at Tampa Bay, pleaded with coach Mike McCarthy to let him play last Sunday against Atlanta. He got his wish and finished 25-for-37 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, although the gutty effort came up short as the Packers lost 27-24.

"He was in a lot of pain,'' McCarthy said. "For him to go out and throw the ball like he did and to play the way he did, I think, is a tribute to him. He definitely played big in the game.''

Rodgers will miss some practice again this week, but is expected to play Sunday.

On the other side of the ball, Green Bay's defense continues to be shaky after allowing 370 yards of total offense last week. The Packers, who were tied with Seattle for sixth in scoring defense last season (18.2 points per game), now rank 23rd in the league in that same category (25.6 ppg) and 26th in total defense (374.0 yards per game).

"We're making common mistakes, things we're stressing in practice, and we need to clean them up," said McCarthy, whose team hasn't dropped four straight games since opening the 2005 season 0-4. "Our house is messy right now. Nobody's happy about it and we'll continue to work. But we're 2-3 and we'll get it cleaned up as we head into Seattle.''

While the Packers trail Chicago by only one game for the North lead despite their struggles, the Seahawks' situation appears considerably bleaker after last Sunday's 44-6 loss to the New York Giants.

The four-time defending NFC West champions, off to their worst start since opening the 2002 season 1-5, were outgained 523-187.

"Coming in, I had very, very high expectations. And I still do. So when do we start here? When do we get it going?'' asked Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who coached Green Bay from 1992-98. "When do we play the way that we think we are capable of playing?

"It's got to be pretty soon here.''

Seattle's defense has been even worse than Green Bay's. The Seahawks returned all 11 defensive starters - including four Pro Bowlers - from last season's unit, but rank 29th in scoring (31.0 ppg) and 27th in total defense (382.3 ypg).

They allowed the Giants to rush for 254 yards on 36 attempts, and may have trouble slowing down Green Bay's Ryan Grant, who rushed for a franchise playoff record 201 yards and three touchdowns in the January meeting.

"That was embarrassing,'' Seahawks Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu said. "As one of the leaders of this defense I take that very personally.''

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hyperextended his right knee after being hit on the fourth play from scrimmage against the Giants. He limped to the sidelines and finished 11-of-21 for 105 yards and an interception before being relieved late in the third quarter with New York ahead 37-6.

The three-time Pro Bowler should be ready to play this week, but wide receiver Deion Branch may miss his fourth game of the season after injuring his heel last Sunday.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
GREEN BAY is 4-2 against the spread versus SEATTLE since 1992
GREEN BAY is 5-2 straight up against SEATTLE since 1992
4 of 7 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
GREEN BAY is 2-0 against the spread versus SEATTLE over the last 3 seasons 
SEATTLE is 1-1 straight up against GREEN BAY over the last 3 seasons 
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at SEATTLE since 1992
GREEN BAY is 2-0 against the spread versus SEATTLE since 1992
SEATTLE is 1-1 straight up against GREEN BAY since 1992
1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at SEATTLE over the last 3 seasons.
GREEN BAY is 1-0 against the spread versus SEATTLE over the last 3 seasons 
SEATTLE is 1-0 straight up against GREEN BAY over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[DT] Justin Harrell is expected to miss first 6 games - Back - 08/25/08
[S] Aaron Rouse is "?" - Knee - 10/01/08
(!) [QB] Aaron Rodgers injured last game, "?". - Shoulder - 09/28/08
[LB] A.J. Hawk left last game, "?". - Groin - 09/29/08
[DE] Cullen Jenkins IR - Chest - 10/01/08
[FB] Korey Hall missed last game %27?%27 - Knee - 09/28/08
[CB] Al Harris expected to miss 3 weeks - Spleen - 09/21/08
[DE] Jason Hunter injured last game %27?%27 - Hamstring - 09/28/08
[WR] James Jones missed last game %27?%27 - Knee - 09/28/08
[FS] Nick Collins injured last game %27?%27 - Back - 09/28/08
[LS] JJ Jansen IR - Knee - 08/30/08
[OG] Josh Sitton missed last game %27?%27 - Knee - 09/28/08
[SS] Atari Bigby missed last game %27?%27 - Hamstring - 09/28/08
[WR] Koren Robinson missed last game %27?%27 - Knee - 09/21/08
[WR] Nate Burleson IR - Knee - 09/08/08
[WR] Ben Obomanu IR - Shoulder - 08/31/08
[RG] Rob Sims IR - Pectoral - 09/09/08
[WR] Logan Payne IR - Knee - 09/15/08
[LB] Wesley Mallard IR. - Knee - 08/06/08
[WR] Bobby Engram is upgraded to probable - Shoulder - 09/30/08
[QB] Seneca Wallace expected to miss three to four weeks - Calf - 09/15/08
[RB] Maurice Morris missed last game %27?%27 - Knee - 09/21/08
[WR] Deion Branch is upgraded to probable - Knee - 09/30/08

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