Once again, CB Darqeze Dennard and LB Mark Nzeocha were added to the active roster from the practice squad ahead of today’s game for the 49ers. The team is as healthy as they’ve been in months.
San Francisco 49ers (11-7) @ Green Bay Packers (13-4)
Date: Saturday, January 22, 2021
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. PT
Location: Green Bay, WI
Play-by-Play: Joe Buck
Color Analyst: Troy Aikman
Sideline Reporter: Erin Andrews/Tom Rinaldi
No Nickelodeon or slime this week. Again, you can stream all playoff games on the Yahoo Sports or NFL app for free. No TV Map is needed as this is a standalone game.
Odds: 49ers +5.5 at DraftKings SportsBook
For more betting information, please visit DK Nation.
We were split as a staff for our predictions. Here’s what I had to say:
Kyle: Packers 24, 49ers 20
This will be the best game of the weekend and perhaps the best game of the playoffs. When the 49ers and Packers are rolling, you won’t find two better teams in the NFL.
However, I don’t think we see nearly as many points as others seem to think. That doesn’t mean the quality of the game gets worse. Don’t be surprised if we see two coaches who know each other well come out more conservative than usual.
For as efficient and effective the Packers are on offense, they’re one of the slower starting teams in the league. That’s when they aren’t going against the best defensive line in the league.
The 49ers’ offense has been the same for better or worse going on a month now when Jimmy Garoppolo is under center. There’s a high probability of them establishing their dominance on the first drive. Jimmy is going to lead the offense to points at the end of the half or game. We can also count on the 49ers superstar supporting cast to wow us with highlights.
Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Elijah Mitchell are going to do something spectacular during the game. All of these are foregone conclusions when watching the offense.
We don’t know whether they’ll sustain drives and score points during the second or third quarters. The offense plateaus in the middle of the game. Sometimes, the outcome is worse. Penalties, drops, and interceptions are what’s keeping this offense from turning into a juggernaut.
Add in an inevitable special teams mistake which ultimately puts the defense in bind after bind, and that’s the 49ers season in a nutshell.
Now, they’ve had impressive comebacks or near-perfect games over playoff teams. Fortune has been on this team’s side during the second half of the season. It’s better to be lucky than good. The 49ers have been both, but they also haven’t played Aaron Rodgers during this stretch.
You don’t get “do-overs” against a guy like Rodgers. When you make a mistake, he makes you pay for it. The 49ers aren’t coming back from being down 17 two times in a row against Rodgers in the same season. That’s a fan-fiction book.
The Niners won’t go down three scores again. The offensive line is much improved. Shockingly, the Kyle Shanahan-led team figured out how to run the ball. Garoppolo also threw a first-half interception where Jaire Alexander made an incredible play. Plus, Shanahan isn’t punting the ball from midfield on 4th & 1 in the playoffs against Rodgers.
My read on this game is that the 49ers are even if not better than the Packers. But they’ve consistently made costly mistakes at the most inopportune times. Because they’re insanely talented and well-coached in most areas, the Niners have skated by. Those season-long mistakes catch up to them Saturday night.
I hope I’m wrong.
If the 49ers can control the game script and start this game with a lead, then that score will be incorrect.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.