San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers face off on Sunday in a NFC Wildcard Playoff game at Lambeau Field. The 49ers are -2.5 point favorites over the Packers with an over/under point total set at 48.5
The Green Bay Packers didn’t cement their spot in the playoffs until the final seconds of their final game of the season but regardless of what happened all year they are in. The Packers battled through injuries and pulled off miracle wins at Dallas and Chicago as well as edging out the Falcons at home to win the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers was injured for the bulk of the season but he returned in week 17 and appeared to be his old self pulling off the heroics which will go down in Packer lore. Eddie Lacy became the packers starting running back rushing for 1,178 yards and giving Green Bay a rushing attack they haven’t had in several years. Jordy Nelson had 85 receptions for 1,314 yards to lead the Packers while James Jones had 59 receptions, Jarrett Boykin had 49 catches but it was Randall Cobb who missed most of the season who made the big catch and touchdown last week. The Packers offense averaged 26.1 points and 400.2 yards per game playing a lot of the season without Rodgers. Defensively A.J. Hawk had 118 tackles and 5.0 sacks, Morgan Burnett had 96 tackles, and Sam Shields had four interceptions. The Packers defense allows 26.8 points and 372.2 yards per game. It will be interesting to see if Green Bay can carry over last week’s momentum or are they just not healthy enough to go far in the playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers got off to a slow start to the season but they came on strong in the second half of the year and were one of the better teams in the NFL. The 49ers were depleted at receiver but once they got healthier the offense got better. Colin Kaepernick completed 58.4 percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions and he rushed for 524 yards. Frank Gore was a force in the backfield as he is simply tough to bring down rushing for 1,128 yards while Kendall Hunter was effective in relief rushing for 4.6 yards per carry. Anquan Boldin had a huge first year in San Francisco with 85 receptions, Vernon Davis had 52 catches, and the return of Michael Crabtree has made the Niners passing game much more effective. The 49ers offense averaged 25.4 points and 323.8 yards per game ranking 30th in passing with just 186.2 yards per game. NaVorro Bowman had 145 tackles and 5.0 sacks, Patrick Willis had 104 tackles, Tremaine Brock had five interceptions, and Aldon Smith had 8.5 sacks despite missing several weeks with off of the field issues. The San Francisco defense allowed a third best in the NFL 17 points and a fifth best 316.9 yards per game and they had a plus 12 turnover ratio. The 49ers lost last year in the Super Bowl and expect them to be a team on a mission.
These two teams met in week one of the regular season with San Francisco winning 34-28 scoring the last 10 points of the game. Kaepernick threw for 404 yards against the Pack but the 49ers were stymied by 11 penalties to only five by the Packers. The 49ers also only converted on 60 percent of their red zone opportunities in that game while Green Bay converted 100 percent of theirs.
Green Bay is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven playoff games, 17-7 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 0-5 against the spread in their last five home games. San Francisco is 7-0 against the spread in their last seven road games, 10-4 against the spread against the AFC, and 7-3 against the spread following a win. The home team is 3-1-1 against the spread in the last five meetings of these two.
This one should be wide open and I like the over.