A pair of talented and hungry 13-3 teams will square off in the late slot Sunday evening for the right to go to the Super Bowl and represent the NFC. Both the Packers and 49ers endured dream seasons, but one must end this week, and it should be an absolute battle for sixty minutes.
While San Francisco had the decisively better metrics, the Packers have shown up of late – and their defense remains one of the more surprising units in the league. Of course, much of the attention in the lead-up to this clash will focus solely on the fact that these teams met eight weeks ago at Levi Stadium, a game where the Niners easily disposed of Green Bay, by a 37-8 scoreline. This was however Green Bay’s worst performance of the season, and you can bank on them having more juice for this week.
Everything that could have gone wrong for Green Bay that week, absolutely did. And now they head to northern California once again looking to re-write the script. Aaron Rodgers turned in a masterful performance last week vs. Seattle, and with a healthy Green Bay lineup, this game should be close throughout, and produce a ton of drama on the eve of the Super Bowl.
As we’ve done all season long, keep reading beneath the current odds for the NFC Championship. You will find a game preview, tactical analysis, and finally, a betting suggestion for this key showdown between Green Bay and San Francisco. Enjoy!
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers +7.5 (-105)
@ San Francisco 49ers -7.5 (-115)
Over 47 (-105)
Under 47 (-115)
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Pick:
The good news for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is that it can’t possibly go any worse for them than it did the last time they were in San Francisco. A lot has changed for Green Bay since that humbling defeat, and expect that to shine through on Sunday.
They are now a healthier team, and as a result their blocking schemes and protection in front of Rodgers has improved. Seattle had a tough time getting to the quarterback last week, and despite San Francisco’s elite pass rush – the Niners might run into a wall at times too. With added time and space in the pocket, Rodgers has proven recently that he can still get the job done.
Davante Adams is one of the sport’s elite receivers and should be able to get open for some solid gains. In the first meeting between these two teams, Green Bay did a great job at getting Adams away from Richard Sherman of the Niners. If this can occur once again, the Packers should be able to keep the chains moving through the air.
On the ground, Aaron Jones is in fine form lately, but the Niners’ run defense has steadily improved to close out their season. They stifled Dalvin Cook last week and despite Jones’ power style, it might be up to the Packers’ passing game to put points on the board.
And while Green Bay can struggle covering opposing tight ends, and the George Kittle problem looms large – expect a ‘by committee’ approach to nullify his impact. Expect Green Bay to also try and counter Garoppolo’s throws with a very heavy pass rush on obvious throwing situations. With added pressure, the Niners will quite likely turn to a heavy dose of their talented run game, but this is an area the Packers are prepared for and are well-equipped to limit.
A ton of pressure is on the 49ers to get the job done here. As heavy favourites, and coming off dismantling this same Green Bay team weeks ago – many seem to think this will be easy for San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo has very limited playoff experience though, and really hasn’t been all that impressive of late. The pressure the Packers will bring should rattle him, and he’s going to either turn the ball over or hold onto it for too long.
Bryan Bulaga is also back for Green Bay, which will only help with their improved blocking schemes. It’s tough to ever count out Aaron Rodgers, especially after last week’s showing against Seattle. Green Bay is certainly peaking at the right time, and though I’m not prepared to call an outright victory, this is going to be a close game and there are far too many points being given up right now. Expect the Packers to cover a nail-biter on Sunday evening.