Reeling from a loss last week, the (2-2-1) Green Bay Packers welcome the (1-4) San Francisco 49ers to Lambeau Field today in hopes of getting their season back on track under the Monday night lights (8:15 PM ET on ESPN).
The Packers opened their season on a spectacular note. After falling behind 17-0 thanks to a first half injury to Aaron Rodgers, the game felt all but over. Then, adding to his legend, Rodgers came back into the game in the third quarter and led the Packers to a 24-23 victory, doing so essentially on one leg. It was determined at halftime that Rodgers’ injury wouldn’t get any worse by him going back out there so of course that’s what he did.
While the injury to Rodgers’ knee may not have gotten any worse, it certainly hasn’t gotten better either. Rodgers has managed to play well over the last several weeks with big games against the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions in particular, despite the latter being another tough loss for the Packers. Rodgers threw for 442 yards and three touchdowns. He couldn’t have played much better, even if he did suffer a minor setback in the process.
A healthy Rodgers is key to Green Bay’s success as was demonstrated in week one when the Packers couldn’t score a single point on offense when he wasn’t on the field. With the season nearing its midway point, that’s not to say this is a must-win game but it is going to be an important one. The Packers playoff hopes could start slowly slipping away if they can’t get what should be a relatively easy win against a pretty banged up 49ers team.
Rodgers is expected to play even if he won’t be at 100 percent. If this season is any indication though, for the Packers, a less than 100 percent Rodgers is better than no Rodgers at all.
Injuries Pile up for San Fran
It’s week six of the NFL season, which means there are bound to be teams hit hard with the injury bug. There’s a difference between being hit with the injury bug and being decimated by it, as the San Francisco 49ers are.
The biggest injury came in week three when Jimmy Garappolo went down with an ACL injury, the same injury that fans originally thought Rodgers suffered in the week one victory over the Chicago Bears. Rodgers lucked out, Garappolo did not. Out for the entire season, the 49ers have been reliant on Garappolo’s replacement, C.J. Beathard and the results have been mixed at best. The team is 0-2 in Beathard’s two starts, both of which have seen the young QB throw two touchdowns and two interceptions. Overall, the numbers aren’t all that bad though. Beathard has thrown for 647 yards and has a completion percentage of 62.6 this season.
Quarterback play aside, the next biggest area of hurt for the Niners has been at the running back position. With injuries abounding in the team’s backfield, San Francisco is down to its third string running back, Alfred Morris. A seven-year veteran, Morris has had very minimal production this season. Only in the team’s most recent game, where he enjoyed starting running back duties did Morris carry the ball more than 15 times. It was his second game this season where he rushed for over 60 yards.
Morris is a solid complementary back but the Niners can’t really expect huge production from him. The problem is, they are going to need it as the rest of the offense is dealing with those injuries as well. Both Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are listed as questionable at the wide receiver position and top tight end Garrett Celek is questionable with a quadriceps injury as well.
Injuries are running rampant for both of these teams so tonight is really going to be a war of attrition. That being said, going in, the Niners are already at a big disadvantage. All quarterbacks need guys to throw to but especially the less experienced ones like Beathard. He will definitely be faced with a tough challenge given his lack of weapons and the offense’s overall lack of depth.
This is the point of the preview where we normally look at some of the final X-factors separating the two teams as well as go over the betting odds. It is the wrap-up to the San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers preview, the final pick. There’s one particular X-factor that needs to be addressed in advance of Monday night’s game so before getting to the final pick, let’s talk about the final kick.
Last week, there was no reason that the Packers should have lost to the Lions. Rodgers played at utmost Rodgers-levels and was pristine throughout the game. In the midst of Rodgers’ excellent play, the Packers experienced something rare and inexplicable. Kicker Mason Crosby, who has long been one of the best and most reliable legs in the game, missed kick after kick after kick. It was an absolutely historically bad performance as Crosby went 1-of-5 and 0-1 on extra points. The Packers trailed 24-0 going into the half. Had Crosby made his field goals: 41, 42 and 38 yards, the team would have been down 24-9. Crosby went three straight drives with missed field goals in the first half and things didn’t get much better from there.
With Crosby struggling, it’s possible that played into Green Bay’s decision to go for two after scoring their first touchdown of the game. They went for two again after the second touchdown, but failed to convert. On the third touchdown, as Green Bay was mounting their comeback, Crosby missed the extra point. He followed this up the next drive with his fourth missed field goal of the game, a 56-yard attempt. Perhaps receiving a Bronx cheer to end the game, Crosby made his first field goal try, a 41-yarder, with just two seconds left on the clock.
Green Bay lost the game by eight points. Not all of that can be put on Crosby, but his missed field goals did cost the Packers 12 points. Add in the missed extra point and Crosby was responsible for 13 points that the Packers lost.
Crosby will need to get it out of his own head by tonight’s game or Green Bay could lose another winnable game thanks to bad kicking.
Our Preview’s San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers Betting Predictions & Picks Verdict
So we come to our San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers predictions for this NFL preview:
- The Packers are favored by a lofty 9.5 points with one of the main United States’ sportsbooks, though the spread is not so generous to the 49ers with the others. It’s a tough spread to take because on one hand, the team is very capable of covering, but on the other, if the kicking game suffers another bad week, it’s easy to imagine the Niners covering. With 9.5 being a lofty number, the first of our picks is to bet on San Francisco +9.5pts @ -110 with Bovada. The spread is generally 8.5pts with the other bookies.
- As for the total points likely to be achieved by the two teams in this Monday night game, our prediction is to go under 46.5pts @ -113 with 5Dimes. That spread is -115 with Bovada and the line is 46pts with everyone else.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.