San Francisco hosts Green Bay in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. With a ticket to Super Bowl 54 on line, kickoff is slated for 6:40 p.m. ET at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The Packers won a close contest at home against Seattle while the 49ers smothered the visiting Vikings last week. Will Green Bay turn the table following a Week 12 blowout loss in San Francisco?
Spread: 49ers -7.5 (-115) | Packers +7.5 (-105)
Moneyline: 49ers (-340) | Packers (+280)
Game Total: OVER 45 (-110) | UNDER 45 (-110)
Green Bay Packers’ Recent Form
Following a Wild Card Weekend bye, Green Bay hosted Seattle and posted a 28-23 win in the divisional round last week. Playing a wounded Seahawks squad, the Packers went up 21-3 at halftime thanks to a 20-yard TD catch by Davante Adams and a pair of Aaron Jones 1-yard rushing scores. The Packers defense held the Seahawks in check as Seattle punted twice, went 1-1 on field-goal attempts and ran out of clock during its five first-half possessions.
Seattle fought back in the second half, as it did many times during the regular season, outscoring Green Bay 20-7 over the final 30 minutes. Marshawn Lynch scored two 1-yard rushing touchdowns and Tyler Lockett caught a 7-yard TD pass to keep Seattle close. A late defensive stand by the Packers forced a Seattle punt with 3:22 on the clock. Aaron Rodgers then completed two third-and-long passes and the ‘Hawks defense couldn’t get the ball back for the offense.
Green Bay has won six straight—though the run does include wins over the Giants, Redskins and Lions who posted a combined 10-37-1 regular season record. During a playoff-style contest with the NFC North championship on the line, the Packers posted a quality win over the Vikings, 23-10 in Minnesota during Week 16 action. Running back Aaron Jones is the hottest Green Bay player with 501 rushing yards and seven scores over the last five games.
· Betting Record: SU 14-3 | ATS 11-6-0 | O/U 7-10
· Offense: 15th, scoring 23.5 points per game
· Defense: Ninth, allowing 19.6 points per game
· Turnover Rank: Tied for third with a +12 differential
San Francisco 49ers’ Recent Form
Earning the top NFC playoff seed, San Francisco enjoyed a first-round bye as well. Rested and getting several key players back from injury, the 49ers posted a 27-10 win over Minnesota last week. San Francisco led 14-10 at halftime thanks to a Kendrick Bourne 3-yard TD catch and 2-yard rushing score by Tevin Coleman. The Vikings stayed close by countering with a 41-yard TD catch by Stefon Diggs and a Dan Bailey field goal on the last play of the half.
It was all 49ers in the second half, as Coleman scored on a 2-yard TD run and Robbie Gould kicked two field goals. The defense took care of rest, shutting out Minnesota over the final 30 minutes. Apart from the Diggs TD, the Vikings were smothered throughout the contest as Minnesota managed just seven first downs and 147 total yards on offense. The 49ers racked up 186 rushing yards and won the time of possession by a massive 38:27 to 21:33 margin.
Starters Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Jaquiski Tartt returning from injury helped the San Francisco defense. The 49ers looked like the team that outscored its opponents by a 235-102 margin and opened the season with an 8-0 record. San Francisco closed the regular season with a pair wins against the L.A. Rams (34-31) at home and the Seahawks (26-21) in Seattle. Both games were playoff-style contests as they helped the 49ers clinch first overall in the NFC standings.
· Betting Record: SU 14-3 | ATS 10-6-1 | O/U 8-8-1
· Offense: Second, scoring 29.9 points per game
· Defense: Eighth, allowing 19.4 points per game
· Turnover Rank: 11th with a +4 differential
Fantasy Football Championship Sunday Studs and Duds
Looking for an added edge to help beat the bookmakers? Check out the fantasy football numbers the players involved in this contest have scored so far this season. It’s easy to do as the experts at Fulltime Fantasy Sports have posted a full preview of the San Francisco vs. Green Bay matchup. From my viewpoint, Green Bay has an edge at quarterback, while San Francisco dominates at tight end and defense. As a whole, the running backs and receivers are fairly even.
San Francisco vs Green Bay Recent History – Week 12 Rematch
Revenge will be part of the mix when Green Bay returns to San Francisco after the Packers were embarrassed 37-8 by the 49ers during Week 12 action. As the final score indicates, San Francisco was the vastly superior team on both sides of the ball. The Packers were held to 198 total yards on offense, Aaron Rodgers posted just 104 passing yards and he was sacked five times. Smothered by the Niners defense, Green Bay converted just one of its 15 third-down attempts.
San Francisco’s defense set the tone early as it sacked Rodgers and forced a fumble on the fifth play of the game. The 49ers advanced the fumble to the 2-yard line and Tevin Coleman scored a rushing TD one play later. Green Bay went three-and-out during five of its eight first half possessions and posted just 60 yards on offense. San Francisco scored on five of its eight drives (two TD and three FG), posted 188 yards on offense and jumped out to 23-0 lead at halftime.
Showing some life, Green Bay forced a three-and-out punt during the 49ers’ first second-half possession. The Packers then drove 65 yards on 13 plays, and Davante Adams caught a 2-yard TD pass (plus a two-point conversion) and Green Bay trailed 23-8. The 49ers answered quick as George Kittle caught a 61-yard TD pass to complete a two-play drive. Raheem Mostert scored a 15-yard rushing TD late in the fourth quarter to cap off the 49ers’ impressive victory.
Green Bay and San Francisco: Same Team Opponent Results
Seattle and Minnesota are the most notable same opponents these teams faced this season. The 49ers lost at home 27-24 (OT) to the Seahawks in Week 10 and won 26-21 in Seattle during Week 17 action. The Packers’ lone meeting with Seattle is outlined above. Green Bay swept Minnesota with a 21-16 victory in Week 2 and a 23-10 NFC North-clinching win in Week 16. The final score of the Packers’ wins is similar to what San Francisco posted last week.
What to Expect When the Packers Have the Ball
Facts are facts and Green Bay does not have a very diverse offense beyond Rodgers, Jones and Adams. Given the strength of the 49ers secondary, the Packers need to establish the run with Jones. That will be easier said than done, though, as San Francisco held Dalvin Cook and the Vikings run game to 21 yards on 10 carries last week. Up against the 49ers defense, that led the league allowing just 169.2 pass yards per game, Adams faces a tough test as well.
What to Expect When the 49ers Have the Ball
San Francisco ran the ball 47 times and racked up 186 yards against Minnesota last week. While the Packers will be expecting more of the same, the 49ers rushing attack of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida stays fresh and is difficult to stop. Coleman and Mostert both averaged 4.8 yards per carry last week. Kittle, Deebo Samuels, Emmanuel Sanders and Kendrick Bourne are solid weapons for Jimmy Garoppolo in the 49ers passing game.
Coaching Edge: Kyle Shanahan vs. Matt LaFleur
Both 40 years old, Kyle Shanahan vs. Matt LaFleur is an interesting battle between two of the youngest head coaches in the NFL. Good friends, they also worked together on three different teams (Texans, Redskins and Falcons) between 2008 and 2016. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator on those teams while LaFleur was an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach. Not quite Bill Belichick vs. his former assistants—this is a teacher versus protégé duel.
LaFleur has just two seasons of play-calling experience, as he was the offensive coordinator in Los Angeles during the Rams run to Super Bowl 53 last year. Shanahan is one of the top offensive minds in the NFL and has been calling plays for 12 seasons now. From taking a lot of blame for the Falcons loss to the Patriots during Super Bowl 51, to going 10-22 during his first two seasons in San Francisco, Shanahan is the more battle-tested bench boss in this contest.
Packers vs. 49ers Final Thoughts and Pick
Green Bay was 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS on the road this season, as its other visit to California was a 26-11 Week 9 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. San Francisco is 7-2 SU and 4-4-1 ATS at home. The 49ers lost at home to Seattle in Week 10 and to Atlanta in Week 15. It was loud during the inaugural playoff game at Levi’s Stadium. Kirk Cousins struggled to block out the noise as he had his hands over the ear holes on his helmet prior to almost every play.
Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander did not play during the Week 12 meeting and the 49ers defense still was outstanding. Both players returned and played well last week. 49ers stud LT Joe Staley also missed that game but the Niners were able to run for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Packers RT Bryan Bulaga left the game early and Rodgers was hounded the rest of the match. After missing last week’s game with an illness, Bulaga is expected back for this huge battle.
While the stakes are much higher here, the first meeting was an important contest. The Packers were 8-2 while the 49ers were 9-1 and control of first place in the NFC playoff race was on the line. Rodgers is 11-7 straight up in the playoffs while Garoppolo won his first postseason start last week. My top two deciding factors for backing San Francisco are the 49ers’ healthy and stout defense along with its relentless rushing attack that can wear down Green Bay.
Pick: 49ers -7.5
Playoff Record: 6-2
Season Record: 44-58-2
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