Packers vs. 49ers: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
The Pack are coming off a 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card Round while the 49ers have been idle due to a first-round bye.
You have to go all the way back to Week 1 of the regular season to find the most recent matchup between these two, as San Francisco came out on top, 30-22.
But as ESPN Stats & Info tells us, it's a different story once the postseason rolls around:
49ers: 1-4 in playoffs vs Packers (only win, 1998 Wild Card)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 7, 2013
This matchup has all the makings for one of the best playoff games this winter has to offer.
Here's your guide for Saturday night's action.
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.
When: Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Audio Pass (audio stream only)
Spread: 49ers (-2.5) via Bet Online
Who ya got?
Given the big-game experience of Rodgers & Co., I like the Pack to win this game and advance to the NFC Championship.
Getting Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews back at the right time will do wonders for Green Bay's defense, and with an offense led by the reigning MVP, it's tough to go against the Packers.
With David Akers kicking the ball inconsistently, if this one comes down to a late-game FG attempt, the Packers have the upper hand.
Over/Under: 45 (Bet Online)
San Francisco boasts the No. 3 overall defense in the NFL, but I still like the over in this playoff matchup.
We all know what the Packers' offense is capable of, and with the 49ers allowing 43 points to another solid offense like the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16, I'm rolling with the over on Saturday night.
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
WR Randall Cobb—Illness—PRB
WR Jordy Nelson—Knee—PRB
TE Jermichael Finley—Hamstring—PRB
CB Tarell Brown—Shoulder—PRB
S Dashon Goldson—Shoulder—PRB
DE Justin Smith—Tricep—PRB
Players to Watch
Packers: James Jones
James Jones is an enormous part of what the Packers do offensively, as evident by his NFL regular season-leading 14 touchdown receptions.
It was certainly a career year for the sixth-year man, who will be a big key for Green Bay on Saturday.
Jones went for 81 yards and a touchdown when these two teams met back in Week 1 and caught all four targets by Rodgers against the Vikings last week.
With Cobb and Nelson both dealing with some issues this week, Jones will be the key for Green Bay's offense against SF.
49ers: Justin Smith
The 49ers need to dominate the Packers' offensive line on Saturday, and it all starts with Justin Smith.
Aldon Smith hasn't been as effective without his buddy Justin, but with Justin Smith likely to play against Green Bay, San Francisco's defense could be in for a huge day.
Smith hasn't played since Week 15 at New England and is a huge aspect of San Francisco's defensive scheme when he's on the field.
In order for Aldon Smith and the rest of the 49ers' D to have their best day, Justin Smith needs to be healthy and effective.
Key to Packers Win: Offensive Line Play
Much has been made of the Packers' offensive line and rightly so.
Rodgers was the most-sacked QB during the regular season and was downed three more times against the Vikings in the wild card game last weekend.
In order for the Packers to find success against a staunch 49ers' defense, the offensive line needs to get it done both in pass protection and in the running game.
If the O-line can buy Rodgers enough time, he'll dissect this defense.
Key to 49ers Win: Effectiveness of Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick has never seen the field for a playoff game so it still remains to be seen if he'll be shell-shocked or if he can put the pressure aside and do his thing.
Green Bay's defense is a lot better with Woodson and Matthews back, and if Kap isn't careful, he could fall pray to the pass rush of Matthews and tight coverage of Woodson.
The best thing for the young QB to do is to stay mobile, move in the pocket and make quick and accurate throws to offset the defense.
If he can accomplish that feat, the 49ers will win this game.
Prediction: Packers 27, 49ers 24
I like the Packers' offensive line to give Rodgers enough time to go to work against the 49ers' defense.
I think San Francisco's layoff will hurt them in the end. Often times we see the hottest team come out on top in the playoffs, and with the 49ers not having played in nearly two weeks, they don't have much fire to play with.
I'm taking offense over defense here.
Follow me on Twitter: Follow @Pete_Schauer
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