Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers: Predictions & Odds (NFC Championship 2020)
My prediction for the final score is 49ers 27, Packers 23.
The San Francisco 49ers will be too much for Green Bay’s run game and defense and will win this game by four points and be the NFC Champions on their way to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2012.
My prediction for the final score is 49ers 27, Packers 23.
How to Watch: Packers vs 49ers
What: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
When: Sunday, January 19 at 6:40 pm ET
Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California
How (TV): FOX
Packers vs 49ers Odds
Point Spread: Packers +7.5, 49ers -7.5
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Green Bay vs San Francisco – Game Preview
This exciting NFC Championship Game is, of course, a Super-Bowl-or-bust situation for both these excellent teams – Aaron Rodgers’ undog Green Bay Packers and the home team in this one, Jimmy Garoppolo’s San Francisco 49ers, who are favored by over a touchdown right now.
Last week, the Packers figured out a way to get past Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks (it involved quite a bit of sacking) while the 49ers found the secret to success against the Minnesota Vikings (which involved keeping them scoreless in the second half), the two higher-seeded teams now ready to face each other for all the NFC marbles.
Green Bay may have Aaron Rodgers, but San Francisco has the statistical advantage in just about everything else, so we take a quick side by side look at these two teams to see how they will measure up for this must-see NFC Championship game on Sunday.
For more on the Conference Championship Week check out “NFL Conference Championship Picks & Best Bets“.
The 13-3-0 (1-0) Green Bay Packers
It took a debatable spot of the ball (one that gave Green Bay Packers’ tight end Jimmy Graham the first down in the final seconds of the Divisional round game) to advance the Pack to the NFC Championship game, but they got the questionable break (much to Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carrol’s visual dismay) and now here they are, one win away from the Super Bowl.
During the win, Hall of Fame-bound quarterback Aaron Rodgers showed why he is one of the best at his position with eye-popping passes that at times showed precision and at other times showed patience (and scrambling), but he ended up completing 16-of-27 for 243 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Two other big reasons for the Packers’ win over Russel Wilson’s talented Seahawks both have the last name Smith – linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, who each had 2 sacks (Green Bay had five total sacks in that game), causing distractions and destruction to Wilson’s offense the entire sixty minutes.
The 13-3-0 (1-0) San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers took care of a Minnesota Vikings team on fire by doing what they’ve been doing all season – by putting unrelenting pressure on their quarterback Kirk Cousins, sacking him six times during the game and intercepting him once.
Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa had two of those sacks, bringing his grand total to 11 now, plus he has 25 quarterback hits, he’s forced a fumble and recovered two of them, he’s picked off a pass and defended two of them, and he’s also had 47 total tackles, with 16 of those for a loss, an impressive first year in the league by any standards.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a so-so day in the Vikings win, completing 11-of-19 for just 131 yards and a touchdown with an interception, but he was only sacked twice and had the benefit of running back Tevin Coleman, who had his second-best game of the season with 22 carries for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Packers vs 49ers – History
These two NFC rivals have met 68 total times (including 7 prior postseason games), with Green Bay winning 36 of those times and San Francisco winning 31 games, also with one tie.
The last time these two teams played each other was back in November in the regular season when the Packers went west to Santa Clara and got stomped by the 49ers by a lopsided score of 37-7.
The winner of this game will face the winner of the AFC Championship game, either the Tennessee Titans or the Kansas City Chiefs, on Sunday, February 2 in Super Bowl LIV (54) at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The loser, of course, goes home.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Packers-49ers matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Packers and the 49ers next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive Stats Comparison
Green Bay Packers Overall Offense
- Ranked 18th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 17th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 15th
The Green Bay Packers’ offense is fueled by Aarons – with Aaron Rodgers under center and Aaron Jones out of the backfield, and together the two have been responsible for 42 of the team’s 46 touchdowns this season.
The Packers average 23.5 points per game, which is ranked right around the middle of the league (15th), and a big part of that is deep threat receiver Davante Adams, who caught for almost 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns, the speedy target one of the best that Rodgers has ever had to throw to.
The Packers’ run game has been one of its offensive strengths all season, but they could have to play thin in this one due to injury, with running back Dexter Williams and fullback Danny Vitale both listed as questionable due to an illness, both will be game-time decisions.
San Francisco 49ers Overall Offense
- Ranked 4th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 13th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 2nd
Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is proving to be a dependable franchise quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, this season with almost 4,000 passing yards for 27 touchdowns, though his 13 interceptions have led to a few scary moments during the year.
The big news in San Fran is the running game, right now with three solid performers in their backfield – Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida – a group that has averaged 144 yards on the ground per game and who are ranked 2nd in the league overall.
At this point in the season, the San Francisco 49ers have no less than sixteen players listed on injured reserve, so they are having to play next man up in the playoffs, and now they may have to make do without running back Raheem Mostert (calf) who is listed as questionable for Sunday.
The San Francisco 49ers have the definite offensive advantage in this one, but what they don’t have is Aaron Rodgers, and with his arm and his football IQ he can shift the advantage over to Green Bay at any moment in the game.
Defensive Stats Comparison
Green Bay Packers Overall Defense
- Ranked 18th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 14th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 23rd
Green Bay’s defense is ranked in the middle of the NFL pack, but they keep opponents to less than 20 points per game and they have17 total interceptions and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 41 times during the regular season.
The Smith Brothers (no relation) are making all the defensive headlines for the Packers these days, linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith putting the fear of sack in every quarterback they face, with a combined 25.5 of them during the regular season and 4 of them combined in their one postseason game.
Green Bay’s defense has already suffered some losses this season due to injury, and they may have to play without playmaking cornerback Josh Jackson, who is one of three Packers players listed as questionable for this game due to an illness.
San Francisco 49ers Overall Defense
- Ranked 2nd overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 1st
- Rushing defense currently ranked 17th
As dominant as the San Francisco 49ers defense is, they still allow opponents to score 19.4 points per game (about the same as the Green Bay Packers), though they have 12 team interceptions and 48 total sacks.
The one guy that Aaron Rodgers needs to watch out for is veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who has 3 interceptions (did you see his critical pick last week against the Vikings?) and 14 passes defended, plus a 31-yard pick-six and 61 total tackles on the season.
Over half a dozen defensive 49ers players have had their seasons shortened by injury, and on Sunday, the team may have to play without linebacker Mark Nzeocha (neck), who is currently listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision.
The San Francisco 49ers have a defensive advantage over the Green Bay Packers, but that’s something that the Smith Brothers can shift if they have the type of game on Sunday that they’re used to having (meaning multiple sacks and quarterback pressures).
Packers vs 49ers – Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Packers Win this Game?
The Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers, who is capable of miracles, so depending on how he plays, the team could win this or any game against any opponent they play, although playing on the road against a tough defense like the 49ers makes this an even more difficult task for the ‘old man.’
Aaron Jones must establish his run game early on, otherwise, Rodgers’ play-action won’t be effective, and then it will be difficult to fool the defense in that way, plus a solid rushing attack helps receivers like Davante Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham get open.
The biggest key to a Packers win will be to put pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo while slowing down the 49ers’ run game, both jobs for Green Bay’s defense, especially the Smith Brothers, who need to become a huge fear factor if they expect to steal a victory on the road.
Why Will the 49ers Win this Game?
The San Francisco 49ers are the better team here on both sides of the ball – their rushing attack is multi-headed and deadly, and their passing game is deceivingly effective, with receivers Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Deebo Samuels proving to be consistent targets for Jimmy Garoppolo and capable of running well after the catch.
A big factor in a win for the 49ers will be how playmaking tight end George Kittle plays – he can take over a game with his ability to catch the ball and run hard afterwards, but he is also critical to the run game as a willing and able blocker.
The big killer will be the Niners’ defense led by Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Dee Ford, accompanied by the noise of the hometown 12th man, a killer combo that will be too much for even Aaron Rodgers to handle, a squad whose success (and ability to chase down quarterbacks and running backs) will be the difference in this game.
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