The NFC Championship Game is all set after insane Wild Card and divisional round weekends. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are headed out west to square off with the San Francisco 49ers.
We’ll see how many doubters the Packers still have as they face the cream of the NFC crop. The only doubt for those taking the Niners is whether Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game can keep up with their own elite running game and defense.
In these two teams’ previous matchup this season, the Niners ran away with it, 37-8. That was also the last time the Packers lost a game. The Niners lost two of their last three regular-season games to the Ravens and Falcons.
One of San Francisco’s defensive staples, Kwon Alexander, returned a week ago from injured reserve and played 25 snaps and looks to play more this week. We’ll see if the 49ers have what it takes to slow down a red hot Rodgers. Read on for our betting preview of this contest.
Rodgers’ numbers may not dazzle you the way they used to, but the veteran still managed to throw for over 4,000 yards on the season while coming up with 26 touchdowns to only four picks. His numbers may seem a bit lower than usual, and they are, but much of this can be attributed to him finally having a running game with Aaron Jones, and a stout defense led by Za’darious and Preston Smith.
Since head coach Matt LaFleur joined the Packers this season, much had been said about the relationship between the coach and Rodgers, but one thing is certain: Winning cures all.
Whether LaFleur has leaned on Rodgers and his number one wideout, Davante Adams, or whether he’s relied on Jones, the team has seemingly gotten better as the season has progressed. Whether it’s improved enough to beat the Niners remains to be seen.
Ground and Pound
The 2019 49ers, the ground and pound Niners, the NFC West champs. Whatever the mantra, San Francisco has remained one for the best teams in the NFL all season. What the 49ers aren’t able to accomplish defensively, their running game makes up for offensively.
Moving the ball and controlling time of possession all season, they became the first team in NFL history to have three backs rush for over 500 yards in Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida.
It was Coleman who led the pack for the runners last week over the Vikings, finishing with over 100 yards on the ground and a score to go with it. One thing the Vikings did well against the Niners a week ago was contain All-Pro tight end George Kittle. Kittle was held to 31 yards on Saturday.
Deebo Samuel has stepped up in recent weeks, becoming the 49ers’ secret weapon. Watch for Kyle Shanahan to get the ball in Samuels’ hands in space and let him go to work.
Down on the Upside
The 49ers are favored by 7.5 points headed into the weekend, with an over/under of 45. The upside to taking the underdog here is that you’ll be betting on Rodgers. Always a solid choice. Rodgers has become increasingly hard to bet against over the years.
But with the spread right, it’s not hard to imagine the Packers covering the 7.5. It’s also not hard to picture the Niners running away with this one.
These have been two of the best teams in the NFL against the spread all season. The Packers are 11-6, while the Niners are 10-6-1 against the spread. Green Bay is 3-1 when coming in as road dogs.
San Francisco is 4-4-1 at home when it is favored. Bettors have their work cut out for them this weekend.