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NFC Championship Game: 49ers Touchdown Faves Over Win-Ugly Packers

Green Bay is one of the few teams that can nearly blow a 21-3 halftime lead and – by the slimmest of margins – hang on to win and cover. The Packers’ “win ugly” mantra continued as they beat Seattle 28-23 to not only advance to the NFC championship game, but cover the -4.5. The Seahawks’ inability to convert a two-point conversion, on the game’s final score with more than nine minutes to go, cost them the ATS road win.

What a difference an upgraded pass rush makes, right? The 49ers sacked Kirk Cousins six times in their 27-10 win and cover last Saturday. San Francisco heads into the NFC title game 14-3 SU and 10-6-1 ATS.

Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers

Opening Odds Analysis

The 49ers opened as 6-point home favorites before a consensus tick up to San Francisco -7.5. Green Bay’s moneyline opened at +275 and the point total at 45.  The total has gone OVER in five of the 49ers’ last seven home games with an average combined score of 53.57.

As of Monday, 59 percent of the public consensus is backing 49ers -7.5 and 56 percent is on the OVER 45.

Last meeting, Week 12:  Green Bay converted just one of 15 third downs and finished with fewer than 200 total yards in a 37-8 loss at San Francisco. The 49ers pass rush finished with 10 hits and five sacks of Aaron Rodgers. Jimmy Garoppolo finished 14-for-20 for 253 yards, with George Kittle’s six receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown pacing the offense.

Green Bay News & Notes

This is the first time the Packers have been road dogs of 7 or more points since October 2018. Dating back to 1995, they are 3-17 SU in games in that situation, with the OVER hitting in 14 of 20.

Green Bay converted nine of 14 third downs, was 3-for-3 in the red zone and didn’t commit a turnover in its win over the Seahawks. San Francisco’s defense ranks second in the league on third down and held Minnesota to 2-for-12 last Saturday. 

It was Jimmy Graham’s controversial first down on third-and-nine that earned the headlines, but Seattle’s inability to stop Davante Adams was truly the difference between a Seahawks win and loss. The Packers’ top receiver hauled in eight receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers (see: Sherman, Richard) held Adams to 43 yards on seven receptions in the first meeting.

If you’re now picturing Kirk Cousins completing passes at the Vikings line of scrimmage last Saturday, you’re not alone.

San Francisco’s secondary ranks first in pass yards allowed per game at 166.6 and the pass rush has a lot to do with that trend. Rodgers was hit six times and sacked three times by the 49ers in the first meeting. The Seahawks got to him twice last Sunday. The rush is coming and a shaky Rodgers in the pocket does the Packers offense no favors.

Running back Aaron Jones is averaging 100.2 rush yards per game with seven touchdowns over his past five games. He’ll be tested against a 49ers front that held Dalvin Cook to 18 yards on nine carries and eliminated the threat of play-action pass calls.

On the injury front, offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga missed Sunday’s game with the flu bug. He’s questionable for Sunday.

San Francisco News & Notes

How much of an impact did the 49ers defense have in the win and cover over the Vikings? This tweet from Albert Breer kind of sums things up: 

On top of that, these things stood out:

1) Jimmy Garoppolo only completed 11 passes and the offense still scored three touchdowns.
2) George Kittle’s 16 receiving yards were a season low.
3) The defense held Minnesota to five plays and a turnover on downs after a Matt Breida fumble.
4) The Vikings reached the red zone just once.
5) The 49ers won time of possession 39-21.

Defensive end Dee Ford injured his hamstring back in Week 11, rushed his return, re-aggravated it in Week 14 and missed the final three games of the season. However, in his first game back, he sacked Kirk Cousins once, added two additional hits on the quarterback and had one tackle for a loss. The combination of Ford and Nick Bosa on the edge is going to make life hell for the Green Bay O-line.

Tevin Coleman’s 22 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Vikings was his busiest day since rushing 20 times in mid-October. Raheem Mostert remained steady with 12 carries for 58 yards. He’s averaged 6.9 yards per rush with seven touchdowns over his past seven games. So, the emergence of Coleman last Saturday only strengthens the 49ers’ advantage against the front seven of the Packers. Green Bay ranks 23rd against the rush and has allowed 5.2 yards per carry over its past three games.

The 49ers are 1-2-1 ATS in four games this season when favored by 7 or more points. The OVER hit in three of those four.

Betting Pick: 49ers -7

The Packers have played with fire too many times this season. They get burned a second time at San Francisco as the pass rush overwhelms Rodgers and Jones as it did Cousins and Cook.

Shark Bites
  • The Packers have won 6 straight games by an average margin of 8.67 points.
  • The 49ers are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games as favorite.
  • The Packers are 3-12-1 SU in their last 16 games as underdog.