The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. The 49ers are favored by seven in the opening point spread, and the over-under is set at 45, per OddsShark.
Green Bay survived a furious comeback by Seattle to punch their ticket to the conference title game. It was once again Aaron Rodgers who came up big when it mattered most. With just over three minutes remaining, the Seahawks opted to punt the ball, and the Packers never gave it back as the offense came up with critical first downs to close out the game.
The 49ers made short work of the Vikings with their standard recipe: one of the best defenses in the NFL and a strong rushing attack. San Francisco has multiple running backs that pose a threat to opposing defenses. It was Tevin Coleman that had his way against the Vikings defense with 22 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Raheem Mostert had been the Niners leading runner for the majority of the second half of the season.
The Niners Have Thrived by Using Multiple Running Backs
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan likes to ride the hot hand in the backfield which makes it difficult for opponents to prepare. Shanahan noted he does not care who gets labeled the starter.
“Tevin brings a lot to our game,” Shanahan said, per 49ers Webzone. “I know he hasn’t had the same yards per carry as Raheem has done. I don’t really care much who the starter is. All those guys play. Raheem’s got the bulk of it (in the latter part of the season), so usually, in my opinion, the guy who gets the bulk of the carries is usually the guy we call the starter because we’re treating him as the starter. If he’s not out there the first play, I know no one else calls him the starter because that’s what matters, I guess, to be called the starter.”
The Packers’ run defense ranked among the bottom-ten units in the NFL during the regular season, but Green Bay was able to shut down the Seahawks rushing attack. Green Bay will face a much deeper unit against San Francisco than the depleted position the Seahawks had in the Divisional Round.
San Francisco Destroyed Green Bay Earlier This Season
The 49ers topped the Packers 37-8 on November 24th in Week 12. Green Bay’s offense will face a much more difficult challenge in the NFC Championship than they did against the Seahawks secondary. When San Francisco’s defense is playing at its best, most NFL offenses have found it difficult to move the ball. The Packers will need some Rodgers’ magic to be able to advance to the Super Bowl which can never be counted out.
Rodgers struggled mightily against the Niners pass rush only notching 104 passing yards and a touchdown earlier this season. Jimmy Garoppolo had a nice game going 14-of-20 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Garoppolo leaned heavily on tight end George Kittle who had six receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.
NFC Championship Prediction: 49ers Top Packers to Advance to the Super Bowl
Green Bay has been solid in Vegas this season going 11-6 against the spread, per OddsShark. The Packers have gone under the point total in 10 out of 16 regular-season games. The 49ers are 10-6-1 against the spread this season and their games evenly split the over-under at 8-8-1.
The Packers have had a strong close to the season, but Green Bay proved to be no match for San Francisco when the two squared off in November. Now that San Francisco has regained its health, the Niners have no real weaknesses to exploit. Anytime Rodgers is your quarterback, your team always has a chance. That said, Garoppolo has a more complete team around him to help the Niners advance to the Super Bowl.
Rodgers has two studs to lean on in Aaron Jones and Davante Adams, but Green Bay is going to find it challenging to consistently move the ball in San Francisco. It is not a great matchup for the Packers, and fans can expect the 49ers to take full advantage at home.
Heavy’s Pick: 49ers 27 Packers 17. 49ers Cover -7 Spread. Under on the Point Total.