The San Francisco 49ers wiped out the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of last season’s NFL playoffs. What will happen on the betting lines when these teams reunite in the postseason?
NFC Wild Card Game – Sunday, January 5th
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
NFL Football Odds: 49ers -2.5
Why The 49ers Can Cover The Spread:
They are a better team. San Francisco has Green Bay’s number. The Niners won the regular season meeting between these two teams in week one, and they drilled the Packers in last year’s playoffs. San Francisco is simply a much more physical and powerful team than Green Bay, offensively and defensively. The 49ers bull-rush the Packers’ offensive line, and they are able to run the ball between the tackles against the Packers’ defensive front. San Francisco can dictate the terms on which games are played against Green Bay. The 49ers are coached so well on defense that they do not allow huge plays, and that’s the way Green Bay generally beats opposing teams. The Packers’ offense is built around the big play more than a ball-control formula. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants to deliver the big strike for 40 or more yards against a defense and score points as quickly as possible. Teams that play the Packers when Rodgers is in the lineup (and therefore healthy enough to compete at a reasonably high level) want to keep the Packers’ offense off the field and shorten the game. The Niners are built to play this way, so they want to counteract Green Bay’s quick-thrust identity with a patient, punishing style. In recent meetings, San Francisco’s defense has wobbled against Green Bay’s offense, but it hasn’t completely collapsed. Green Bay has not been able to score in the high 30s or beyond. The Niners have then been able to run the ball so well that they’ve been able to score at a higher rate than the Packers, with last January’s playoff win serving as a perfect example. This season’s game probably won’t have the score of last season’s game (45-31), but San Francisco should still come out on top, probably with a score of 30-24 or 34-27.
Why The Packers Can Cover The Spread:
Their leader and best player is back, and in reasonably good form. It was surprising to see Aaron Rodgers enter the lineup against the Chicago Bears this past Sunday after being held out of the lineup for each of the previous several weeks, spanning nearly two full months. Rodgers’ collarbone had not been healing very quickly, but the superstar managed to meet the various pain-management thresholds set out by team doctors in accordance with NFL policy. When given the green light to get back on the field against Chicago, Rodgers started the game with some early mistakes, but he was able to shake off the rust and deliver the late-game fourth-down conversions and touchdown passes Packer fans have come to expect from him. If Rodgers plays his best game, Green Bay can and will win.
The possibility of a Rodgers masterpiece is real but not probable. San Francisco has demonstrated control of Green Bay when Rodgers has been at his best, so they should be seen as the NFL betting favorite until proven otherwise.
Pick: 49ers -2.5