PACKERS @ NINERS ~ NFC TITLE GAME PREVIEW (1-19-20)
YOUNG GUN QB FACING OFF vs. THE OLD GUN QB FOR TICKET TO THE SUPER BOWL!
VEGAS BETTING ODDS: SAN FRAN NINERS (-7 1/2) vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS ~ TOTAL: (46 1/2)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (#18) OFFENSE: (112 RUSH, 233 PASS) vs. SF NINERS (#2) DEFENSE: (113 RUSH, 169 PASS allowed)
SAN FRAN NINERS (#4) OFFENSE: (144 RUSH, 237 PASS) vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (#18) DEFENSE: (120 RUSH, 233 PASS allowed)
OK folks we head to the final game to decide the winner of the NFC and what team will represent in this years Super Bowl in Miami in 2 weeks. We got the #1 seed and the #2 seed so nobody crashed the party in this Conference this season to via for a shot at a Super Bowl Golden Ticket. In a league full of young stud QB’s it’s only fitting this game has one of them playing in the game. Of course it’s also fitting we do see an old school QB as well, as only one of the Grey Beards made it to this years Final 4. Funny if they asked many of you which of these two QB’s, Niners Jimmy Garappolo or Packers Aaron Rodgers led his Offense to the #4 ranking and which one led to the #18 ranking and majority would quickly guess Rodgers as the #4 Offense. But it’s Jimmy G who led his Offense to the #4 ranking and amazingly it was Rodgers who led his Offense to a very head scratching #18. It’s even more stunning since Rodgers team went 13-3 overall in the regular season this year. But now that the game is finally here, we as fans should be excited to see how New School does facing Old School. One way or the other though a new and very young Head Coach will be heading to his first ever Super Bowl.
Earlier this season the Packers made this same trek to San Franland and faced the Niners and they came home completely beaten down as the Niners bombed the Packers 37-8. Rodgers passed for a almost hard to believe only 104 passing yards and was sacked 5x. The Packers went (1-15) on third downs, was (0-8) on passes 10+ yards downfield, the Pack Defense couldn’t make stops and so from A-Z the Packers did nothing well. Since that embarrassing loss, the Packers have not lost a game. Sometimes those really bad performances wake up a team and they just are focused more in future games. Not all losses are as bad as one might thing at the time they happen. Young Niners QB Jimmy G won the QB dual that day as he passed for 253 yards and 2 TD’s and no Interceptions. He was sacked 3x so I guess the Packers did one thing decent that day. But all we ever hear is how the weak link of the Niners team is Jimmy G, yet he led them to #1 ranking in NFC and this after the team went (4-12) last season. Usually the QB’s get all the glory on the wins and all the bad rap on the losses but for poor ole Jimmy G it’s more very little glory on all those wins this team had this season. Now though the past games are all meaningless as Jimmy G must play a very strong game again and Rodgers must play a completely different and much, much improved game, to send their teams to the Super Bowl.
Let’s start with the Packers. You tell me to start season they have a new young Head Coach taking over and the Offense and Defense finish in lower tier of all League rankings (#18 in both Offense and Defense) and you then say they are going to the NFC Title Game and I am laughing at you as hard as I’ve ever laughed. But somehow, some way, all 3 things happened and the Packers are playing for a Super Bowl Invite after all. The Packers Offense had a ton of adjusting with Rodgers learning all new stuff from his entire past career and so as expected the numbers did explode. But they learned as a Unit and ended up with 13 wins (now 14). In 12 of their 17 games the games were relatively close, with those 12 being decided by 10 points or less. They proved they can win close games and games they no longer had to have Rodgers and Company light up the scoreboard. In fact the Packers finished the season strong with a current 6 straight overall wins streak and they did it with the Offense scoring: 31, 20, 21, 23, 23 and 28 (last week vs. Seattle in Playoffs). This isn’t your Pops Rodgers led Offense but they did enough to win and they can thank the Defense, one that has really stepped it up a few notches these final past 6 weeks, allowing only 13, 15, 13, 1o, 20 and 23 (last week to Seattle). The Smith brothers signings this offseason turned out to be PURE GOLD….as they are the only Defensive Players on the same team with at least 12 sacks apiece. The Packers did win 6 of their Road games, so all the success wasn’t just at their beloved Lambeau Field. Rodgers last week in the win over Seattle was (6-6 passing for 145 total yards) on balls thrown 10+ yards. He added 2 TD’s in those 6 completions. Far cry from the terrible outing he had facing these Niners in his last loss this season.
The Niners actually lost 2 of their final 5 regular season games. All 5 were games very close with none decided by over a TD and 3 of those 5 decided by a mere Field Goal. Last week may have been their best win all season though as they demolished the Vikings (does beating the pulp out of Kirk “Never won a big game” Cousins count though?) on both sides of the ball and so they surely come in very confident against even the ole Magician himself Rodgers. The Offense has shined brighter at Home this year with a solid scoring output all season: (34, 22, 37, 36, 24, 51, 31, 24 and 27 last week in Playoff win over Minny). What changed so much for the Niners last week to finally just beat an opposing team up and grab a double digit win? It’s pretty easy really: RESTED PLAYERS. I told you before the Niners/Vikings game the biggest winners of that rest would be the DL and especially young stud Nick Bosa. Playing down the stretch without stud Defensive All Stars Ford and Alexander the DL was shorter on depth and guys like Bosa were clearly tiring from being on field so much. Last week with the full arsenal back it was a completely fresh at all times Pass Rush and boy did it show. The Niners were in Cousins face the entire game and 6 sacks was the biggest difference. The Vikings Offense had 147 Total yards and 66 of those yards came in the final 4+ minutes. The Vikings gained a measly 21 rushing yards as they couldn’t ever slow the dominating SF Pass rush.
KEYS TO GAME:
If GB can’t run the ball, even Rodgers won’t be enough as he simply doesn’t have the greatest set of wide outs to help him like he once had. But good news if you are a Packers fan or Packers backer here, the #1 weapon to Rodgers is WR D. Adams, who just happens to have 7 TD catches (most in NFL) over the past 6 weeks. He will need to have his best game all season, as he is facing the Niners greybeard CB Richard Sherman (first meeting held Adams to 2 catches for only 20 yards and he had one Interception as well). The Packers OL had it’s best Offensive Lineman, B. Bulaga, on the field only 9 plays in that first meeting. It’s almost impossible to slow this Niners Pass Rush down, so having your entire top OL back will surely be a big help and a great boost in confidence this time around for the Cheeseheads. Look the best nickel front in the NFL is the Niners and although Rodgers at times is like Houdini, he still needs some time to get the ball out.
SF Defense ended 17.3% of all opposing QB’s pass attempts ending in a Sack this season. Cousins couldn’t withstand it and it will be up to the savvy Vet Rodgers to read the Defense he sees and get the team in good positions to advance the ball. It’s not likely we see Rodgers throwing tons of deep balls on Sunday.
As for the big problem the Packers Defense this week it’s covering the Niners Top Tight End, George Kittle. The Packers D was scorched by other elite Tight Ends this year with Chiefs Kelce, Raiders Waller, Eagles Ertz and Kittle himself gaining just shy 100 (95.8) yards catching by the Tight Ends and 4 TD’s. No team calls better plays for it’s Tight Ends than does Niners HC/Playcaller K. Shanahan. Since Week 7 the Packers D has allowed 710 passing yards to opposing Tight Ends. Green Bay must figure a way to force young Jimmy G into making more deep pass completions.
HEAD REFEREE UPDATE:
Head Ref for this game is J. Hussey. His crew this season averaged only (14.9) penalties per game (4th lowest) and just 38 Offensive Holding calls (second fewest).
Packers only injury is to it’s Punter JK Smith so that’s great news for them. The Niners showed what they can do at full strength as last week they returned 3 starters on Defense (Tartt, Alexander and Ford). I love to see the teams at full strengths for such big games.
First thing we must remember is this is just the second ever Playoff game for Niners QB Jimmy Garappolo. We’ve seen this type of Pressure game wilt many a young QB in this league. But Jimmy G has a fantastic run game to ease the burden of him needing to match Rodgers if need be the case. He simply just needs to not turn the ball over (last week he clearly misread the coverage and tossed a freebie to the Vikings Defense) and allow his Loaded Backfield to go run for their normal 145-150 yards rushing and keep Rodgers off the field to do his Magic. This is a rare time for Rodgers to come in as a big Underdog. He’s saying you are giving me, Aaron Rodgers, the middle finger as a 7 1/2 point Underdog in this game. How has fared prior as a Dog of at least 7 points: try (3-0) ATS. The Niners overall have the much better talent and they are playing at Home and the weather should be nice so no weather turnovers not your fault. Although Jimmy G won his first ever Playoff game last week, we saw what Cousins did off his first ever Playoff win last week. Just winning a NFL Title Game is super hard. Winning it by basically a TD and a FG is really much harder a task than most bettors think. And the shame of this spread is it’s the Packers Defense that has carried the load in this 6 game win streak, not the Rodgers led Offense. It really comes down to can Rodgers lift his team on his shoulders and head back to the Super Bowl again or is it Jimmy G’s time to move the ladder to QB elite in this league. One thing I can guarantee you is the NFC is sending a very young Head Coach to the Super Bowl which proves the old guys aren’t the only way to get there anymore.
Enjoy this game and have a great weekend and may all your Wagers be WINNING ones.
ps- Last week we obviously won big (If you didn’t seriously think of quitting betting forever) with the Niners over Vikings Kirk “Never won a Big game” Cousins and we also won easily with the OVER in Houston/KC and with Green Bay (-4), but we did fall just short on the Ravens/Titans- OVER as the Ravens imploded over and over in the Red Zone costing us a perfect 4-0 sweep weekend. But we will take 3-1 with a big play win any week of the year. We gave you Green Bay over Seattle as a Free Pick right here last week and they had to hang on late to barely secure the point spread (-4) by 1 point with the Packers 5 point victory. With only 2 games this Sunday in the 2 Title games we will pass a free play. We don’t like either game this week to be a Best Bet.