Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Packers at 49ers Preview
Packers at 49ers – 6:40 PM EST - FOX
Betting Odds: San Francisco -7 ½, Total 46 ½
Provided by DraftKings (IN, NJ & PA only)
Odds subject to change
The top two teams remaining in the NFC square off for a spot in Super Bowl LIV in Miami on February 2. The 49ers and Packers own a rich playoff history that saw the two legendary franchises hook up seven times since 1995 in the postseason, including in four consecutive seasons from 1995 through 1998. Although Green Bay knocked San Francisco out of the playoffs in three of those four opportunities, the 49ers eliminated the Packers in 2012 and 2013.
San Francisco (14-3 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) closed the regular season with a crucial road victory at rival Seattle to secure not only a first-round bye, but home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The 49ers didn’t let that opportunity slip through their fingers in a dominating 27-10 rout of the Vikings in the divisional playoff round to easily cover as seven-point favorites. San Francisco ended an 0-6-1 ATS run as a favorite of six points or more, although the 49ers posted a 5-2 record in those contests.
The imposing 49ers’ defense limited the Vikings to seven first downs, one week after Minnesota recorded 22 first downs in an overtime upset of New Orleans. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t dominate in his playoff debut, but he led the 49ers on a pair of first half touchdown drives, while throwing for 131 yards on 11-of-19 passing. The Niners’ ground attack ate up the Vikings’ defense for 186 yards on 47 carries, paced by 105 yards and two touchdowns from running back Tevin Coleman.
The Packers (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) finished off their home slate at 8-1 this season by holding off the Seahawks, 28-23 in the divisional round. Green Bay was cruising as 4 ½-point favorites by building a commanding 28-10 advantage heading into the final minute of the third quarter. Seattle scored a pair of touchdowns to creep within five points, but Green Bay backers breathed a sigh of relief when Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked on a two-point conversion to avoid Seattle trimming the deficit to three points.
The Seahawks actually outgained the Packers by 31 yards, but Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to its third divisional playoff win since 2014 by throwing for 243 yards and connecting on two touchdowns with Davante Adams. Green Bay picked up its sixth consecutive victory since getting wiped out San Francisco (more on that in a moment), but only two of those wins came against playoff teams (Minnesota the other in Week 16). The Packers closed out the lights on Lambeau Field this season by covering six of nine home games, compared to a 5-3 ATS road mark.
Green Bay covered in three of four opportunities as a road underdog this season, including victories at Chicago, Dallas, and Minnesota. The lone setback came at Levi’s Stadium in Week 12 against the 49ers in a 37-8 rout as three-point underdogs. Green Bay was making its second trip to the west coast in three weeks after posting only 11 points in a 26-11 defeat to the Chargers in Week 9. The offense didn’t travel once again to the Golden State as the Packers trailed at halftime, 23-0, while the only Green Bay touchdown came late in the third quarter from Rodgers to Adams.
From a totals perspective, the NFC Championship games from 2014 through 2016 all saw contests finish with 50 combined points or more and eclipse the ‘over.’ The 2017 NFC title affair hit the ‘over’ of 39 when the Eagles routed the Vikings, 38-7, but the ‘over’ streak ended last season with the controversial finish between the Rams and Saints that remained ‘under’ the total of 56. VI totals expert Chris David provides plenty of analysis on the total of the NFC Championship right here.
The Packers are seeking their first Super Bowl appearance since 2010 when they beat the Bears on the road in the NFC Championship. Green Bay has since lost twice in the conference title game at Seattle in overtime in 2014 and at Atlanta in 2016, while the Packers are 1-4 in their past five road playoff games. The 49ers last reached the Super Bowl in 2012 after edging the Falcons in the NFC Championship before falling to the Ravens. Since winning their last Super Bowl in 1994 (in Miami), the 49ers own a 1-3 record in the conference title game, which includes a home overtime setback to the Giants in 2011.
VegasInsider.com NFL expert Joe Nelson provides insight on how Green Bay couldn’t convert when it counted in the earlier loss to San Francisco, “The Packers wound up 1-15 in third downs and 1-3 on fourth downs while Rodgers was sacked five times while under consistent duress in the first meeting. Those third down results present a great contrast to last week’s win over Seattle when the Packers had nine third down conversions in 14 tries, including two huge late conversions to seal the game and keep the ball away from Wilson. Green Bay was out-gained on the season and didn’t fit the statistical profile of a 13-3 team, but ultimately sits just one win away from returning to the Super Bowl.”
Both Rodgers and Garoppolo will be focal points on Sunday, but Nelson notes that the ground game can be the key to victory, “Neither team was very effective stopping the run this season ranking outside the league’s top 20 in run defense on a per carry basis and the ground game likely will be the key in this contest. San Francisco’s offensive numbers were much stronger on the ground, third in the league in rushing yards per game but less successful on a per carry basis.”
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