Packers have to keep penalties to a minimum to upend Seahawks

The Green Bay Packers simply can’t continue being their own worst enemy.

The Packers, who play the Seattle Seahawks tonight in Seattle, have paid a steep price for their high number of penalties, many of which were of the boneheaded variety.

In their nine games so far this season, the Packers have committed six or more penalties in six of them. Among their self-inflicted wounds were such inexcusable penalties like unsportsmanlike conduct and being offside on a free kick and an illegal double-team block and roughing the passer (no thanks to the zebras) and roughing the kicker.

In the Packers’ two biggest setbacks, games in which they were favored to win, they imploded with a rash of penalties. Against Washington, the Packers committed 11 penalties. The Packers lost 31-17. Against Detroit, the Packers committed 12 penalties. The Packers lost 31-23.

To their credit, the Packers have cleaned up their penalty mess the last few weeks. They had only two penalties in a tight 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, arguably the best team in the NFC, and had five penalties against the New England Patriots, arguably the best team in the AFC.

The Packers (4-4-1) are winless in four road games this season and are three-point underdogs to the Seahawks (4-5 overall, 1-2 at home) tonight. But the gut feeling here is if the Packers play another relatively-clean game – with five or fewer penalties – they’ll upend the Seahawks and keep their NFC playoff hopes alive.

Prediction: Packers 27, Seahawks 20.