The 1-4 San Francisco 49ers are coming to Lambeau Field following their third loss in a row. San Francisco’s latest beating came at the hands of the (until then) winless Arizona Cardinals, who, despite losing the game’s statistical battle, took advantage of the 49ers’ five turnovers (3 fumbles and 2 interceptions) and won 28-18.
49ers’ quarterback C.J. Beathard was not supposed to be the starter this season – anointed savior Jimmy Garopolo was supposed to fill that role. After beginning the 2018 season 1-1, Garopolo tore his ACL in Week 3 against the Chiefs and the 49ers have lost every game since.
The 2-2-1 Green Bay Packers are coming off a road-whooping by the Detroit Lions, 23-31. Despite his injured knee, Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 442 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Not helping any was veteran kicker Mason Crosby, who uncharacteristically missed four field goals and an extra point attempt.
The Packers are undefeated at Lambeau Field this season (2-0-1) and are expected to defeat the visiting 49ers handily. And they might, if injuries (see below) and a bad kicking leg don’t stand in their way. The Packers lead the series between these two teams 35-30-1.
If the 49ers win this matchup, they’ll move to 2-4, but in an NFC West dominated by the undefeated LA Rams, they’ll need a lot more wins before they can even start dreaming about a wildcard playoff spot. But if the Packers come out on top, they’ll be 3-2-1 and threaten the Bears current reign of the NFC North.
Who’s favored to win this Week 6 49ers-Packers 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 compare the 49ers and the Packers and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 49ers offense bruised
Injuries are the main story of San Francisco’s 15th ranked offense. Besides losing Garopolo for the season, they’ve also lost running back Jerick McKinnon (ACL) and wide receiver Dante Pettis (knee). Running back Matt Breida (shoulder, ankle) is doubtful for Week 6, and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring/quad) sat out Week 5.
Goodwin was practicing this week and should be a go by Monday, as should most of the starters, but the team has been practicing all week with a rag-tag group of healthy players, so who knows how that will affect their ability to compete with the Packers.
Beathard threw for 349 yards last week, his top three targets being second-year tight end George Kittle (5 catches for 83 yards), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (6 catches for 75 yards) and backup receiver Trent Taylor (7 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown). Beathard needs to do a better job holding onto the ball than he did last week (2 fumbles, 2 picks), even though the Packers are currently -2 in total takeaways this season.
The 2018 Packers offense also battered
The Green Bay Packers are no strangers to quarterback injuries, either. After sitting out last season with a broken collarbone, Aaron Rodgers came back healthy this season, only to hurt his knee in Week 1 against the Bears. It’s painful to watch Rodgers favor the knee, which is affecting his ability to scramble and throw on the run. Regardless, he still ranks in the top ten in passing yards per game with 314.4.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) is hoping to return after sitting out two games. The good news is that receiver Geronimo Allison has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol on Wednesday. Devante Adams has been doing a good job in their absence, but the more targets the merrier for the hobbling Rodgers.
So far this season, newly acquired tight end Jimmy Graham has caught 22 balls for 245 yards and a touchdown, and has been a decent counterbalance to the Packers’ 19th ranked run game, led by Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery.
49ers Defense ranks 10th in the league, Packers D ranks 4th
The Packers also outrank the 49ers when it comes to total defense. San Francisco’s defense is tied for last in interceptions (only 1), ranked 24th in total sacks (just 9) and are tied for 18th in fumble recoveries (only 2). They’re ranked 15th against the pass but 7th against the rush, so it’s to their advantage that the Packers’ offense is suffering the injury bug, as well.
Standout defensive end DeForest Buckner has made 3.5 of the teams sacks, as well as combined for 21 tackles (5 for a loss) and 9 hits on the quarterback. Linebacker Reuben Foster, an All-Rookie last season, has only defended 1 pass and has combined for 17 tackles (2 for a loss) and 1 quarterback hit.
The Packers are ranked second against the pass, allowing only 208.8 passing yards per game. They’re 15th in the league against the run, so chances are that’s where the 49ers will concentrate their attack.
Green Bay has intercepted 4 passes this season and they’ve sacked opposing quarterbacks 16.0 times, fifth best in the league. Linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez both have 3.0 sacks, and they’ll be going against a 49er O-line that allows 3.6 sacks per game, 27th worst in the league.
San Francisco’s punter, Bradley Pinion, is in his fourth year and has been a 49er his whole career. So far, he’s punted 22 times for a net average of 38.0 yards per punt, ranked 27th in the league.
Green Bay’s rookie punter, JK Scott, was drafted in the fifth round and has punted 18 times but for a net average of 41.6 yards per punt, ranked 13th in the NFL.
San Francisco’ veteran placekicker, Robbie Gould, in his fourteenth year, has only been a 49er since last season and so far he’s 10-for-11, his longest was a 45-yarder. He’s missed one extra point attempt (8/9).
Green Bay’s veteran placekicker, Mason Crosby, who has been with the Packers his whole career since 2007, is 11-for-16 (he missed four field goals and an extra point last week), his longest has been a 52-yarder. He’s missed two extra point attempts (8/10).
San Francisco’s punt returner, wide receiver Trent Taylor, is in his second year and is currently ranked 18th in the league in return average. He’s returned 4 punts for 11 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 2.8 yards per return, his longest for 8 yards. Taylor is filling in for an injured Dante Pettis (knee).
Green Bay’s punt returner, cornerback Tramon Williams, is ranked 26th in the league in return average. He’s returned 6 punts for 22 yards and a touchdown, averaging 3.7 yards per return, his longest for 9 yards.
49ers-Packers prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the Packers favored over the 49ers by 9.5 with an over/under of 46.5.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Packers 31, 49ers 13
John Breech takes the way under and predicts it Packers 23, 49ers 13