Both rushing offenses should have success tonight, but getting George Kittle back should really be the key for the 49ers offense. I think he has a big game in his return. The Packers struggle against defenses that can get pressure with four. The Packers struggle to stop the run. The Packers struggle against play-action. San Francisco isn’t coming off a bye week like Green Bay, but they’re getting healthy. The Niners should have their top three receivers playing for the first time since Halloween. I like the home team, 24-20.
El Pato (@patoholloway)
The big factor was if the 49ers could get their weapons healthy by the time the game rolled around. It looks like Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Emmanuel Sanders are all ready to roll. If that’s the case, I don’t see how the Packers can win this. The 49ers run game should come back, which is something the Packers are weak against (though some say by design), and I’m not sold on the passing defense either. At least when the ball goes in Jimmy Garoppolo’s hands. With all those weapons, the 49ers should win this 31-24, but with each of those aforementioned names not playing, their odds go down drastically. Hopefully, that does not happen.
This will be a wild game. Green Bay is healthier, and San Francisco is at home. If both Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders are both playing and relatively healthy, it’s a win for San Francisco, 31-17. If both are out or hobbled, Green Bay 24-17. If Sanders is in but not Kittle, flip a coin.
San Francisco embarks on the toughest three-game stretch that any team has faced in the Super Bowl era this late in the season. If the 49ers would like to finish with at least two wins in these three games, they need to win against Green Bay on Sunday — plain and simple.
For a 9-1 team, this is as must-win as it can get. San Francisco will likely get wideout Emmanuel Sanders and tight end George Kittle playing healthy, which will help against an 18th-ranked Packers’ defense. San Francisco’s defense loses rusher Dee Ford but gets lineman D.J. Jones back — which is needed to slow down Green Bay’s 4th-ranked rushing offense.
Since it’s in Santa Clara and the 49ers have the better defense between the two teams, I think they’ll be able to edge out Rodgers and Co., but it’s going to be close.
Jeff Medina (@JeffMedina49)
George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, and Deebo Samuel are all playing in this one, which means that the Packers secondary is going to have its hands full. The Cardinals and Seahawks had success stopping the run by stacking the box, but that’s not going to work this week. Green Bay is going to have to pick their poison, and Shanahan’s play calling should be able to keep them off-balance, allowing Jimmy G and company to put plenty of points on the board.
On D, the 49ers secondary will finally be facing a (reasonably) stationary QB for the first time in three weeks, allowing their defensive line to get back to the business of rushing the passer without having to defend the read-option.
I expect the Niners to have plenty of success on both sides of the ball, and if they can limit mistakes and turnovers, it should be smooth sailing.