Week 6 comes to a close in Lambeau Field as the Green Bay Packers play host to the San Francisco 49ers. After a somewhat precarious 2-2-1 start, the Packers will need a win here to avoid losing touch with others in the NFC North. At 1-4, the 49ers season will effectively be over should they fail to execute the huge upset here. With the stakes high for both teams, I expect a sense of desperation and urgency that typically makes for a quality football match. This also provides some excellent opportunities from a value perspective, which I will analyse below.
Where to Watch: ESPN, 7 Mate or NFL Game Pass Tuesday 11:20am
Green Bay Packers
The Packers enter this fixture at 2-2-1 after a disappointing road loss to the Lions last week. QB Aaron Rodgers was hardly the problem, totalling 442 yards and 3 touchdowns as he averaged 8.5 yards per attempt. A 24-0 Lions halftime lead forced the Packers into a one-dimensional offence, essentially neutering their previously effective rushing attack. Wide Receiver Davante Adams stepped up in the absence of Randall Cobb, hauling in 9 catches for 140 yards and a score, whilst Tight End Jimmy Graham continues to be one of the best in the business.
It was defensively where the Packers lost this one, conceding 24 unanswered points in the first half. The Packers defence allowed Lions RB Kerryon Johnson to gain consistent yards on them, whilst Matt Stafford did an effective job as a game manager. Some lost fumbles by the offense didn’t put them in a great position, however their performance needs to be better this week. Against an anaemic 49ers offence, I expect a unit led by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry to correct things this week
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers slumped to a new low last week, with fans having to suffer through a 10-point home loss to the previously winless Arizona Cardinals. Despite throwing for 349 yards, backup QB C.J. Beathard was far from at his best. He turned the ball over 4 times and lost 49 yards due to sacks, averaging only 6.5 yards per attempt in the process. Running Back Matt Breida and Tight End George Kittle have both been bright sparks for a struggling 49ers offense, however both are doubts for this week with injury.
Whilst the 49ers defence has struggled this season, they did quite an effective job of limiting the Cardinals offense. After an early 75-yard touchdown, they limited QB Josh Rosen to only a further 95 passing yards on 24 attempts. Similarly, they limited the Cardinals to only 2.4 yards per rush attempt, which unfortunately wasn’t enough to prevent 2 touchdowns. With a severe lack of turnovers this season, I expect this 49ers defence to struggle against Aaron Rodgers and Co.
I’d recommend taking this under the key number of 10 before it gets higher closer to kick off. After the loss of star QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers are already looking ahead to the 2019 draft and will struggle in the difficult environment of Lambeau Field. Conversely, the Packers are in desperate need of a resurgent win after last week’s poor effort.
After last week’s demoralising performance, I just don’t see the 49ers getting up for this one. An offense that struggled big time last week won’t be helped by the injuries to both Kittle and Breida. This 49ers defence has struggled all season against the pass, something that won’t be helped by having to face Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Co. Packers by at least double digits here.
Packers -6.5 1stHalf
In a very competitive NFC North, the Packers simply can’t afford a loss here to avoid falling behind in the playoff race. As such, I expect them to come out with a sense of urgency and not give the 49ers a sniff in this football game. With how quickly the Packers offense can put up points, I can definitely see them getting off to an early lead that they don’t relinquish all game.
Under the key number of 7, I think this represents immense value here. Most realistic first half outcomes will put the Packers 10-14 points in front. Buoyed by their strong home crowd, I expect this Packers defence to deliver a resurgent performance against a young Quarterback and struggling 49ers offense.
Over 4.5 touchdowns
Given the significant advantage that the Packers offense has over the 49ers defence, I wouldn’t be surprised if they eclipse 4 touchdowns on their own. Tying in with my earlier prediction, I expect the Packers to get out to a fast start and put up a few touchdowns early. This will force the 49ers into a more aggressive offence to try and close the gap.
With the Packers then playing more of a ‘prevent’ defence, the 49ers can put up a few garbage time touchdowns to go over this total. The bookies have made this total a relatively middling 46.5 points, indicating that they expect 5-6 touchdowns in this one. This is right in the range that I would expect for this one, which means that over 4.5 touchdowns represents excellent value.
Best Bet: Packers -9.5
Whilst Coach Kyle Shanahan will have the 49ers playing hard, the Green Bay talent advantage is just too much for me to ignore here. The Packers are the better team on both sides of the ball and I expect this dominance to be reflected with a comfortable wire-to-wire victory. I’m predicting a big night for Aaron Rodgers and Co in a night that temporarily reduces the stress on Packers Coach Mike McCarthy.
Score Prediction: Green Bay Packers 34-17 San Francisco 49ers