Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers are coming off losses and enter week 9 in must-win spots (8:20pm ET Thursday; TV: Live on FOX & NFL Network). So who bounces back in Thursday Night Football? Read this Packers vs 49ers predictions and full preview, culminating with USAbetting’s picks for the NFL game.
The Packers are in a better situation with the Bears losing as well but their division is very much still a tossup. The Niners are sitting in last place at 4-4 and seem to be now playing for a Wild Card berth. The Seahawks lead the division at 6-1, the Cardinals sit in second at 5-2, and the Rams are one game up in third at 5-3.
The Niners just traded starting linebacker Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints for linebacker Kiko Alonso and a conditional fifth-round pick. Alexander has been dealing with an ankle injury and was only able to suit up for five games with the Niners, but he was still fifth on the team with 30 total tackles (22 solo tackles). That is one less defender on a team that is having a difficult time finding fresh bodies. This should be a competitive and exciting matchup of NFC foes.
Packers vs Niners Injury Woes
The injury bug continues to impact the Niners drastically. The 49ers have the most players currently on the IR with a whopping 13. They have been without their best defender, star defensive end Nick Bosa, since week 2 and just lost their best offensive weapon. Starting tight end George Kittle and starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will both be out indefinitely. Kittle will be out for eight weeks with a fracture in his foot.
Garoppolo will be out indefinitely with an ankle injury that has been bothering him since week 2. Kittle leads the team in receptions (37), targets (49), receiving yards (474), and is tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns with two. He has done all this while missing two games so far this season. The Niners are now without star tight end George Kittle, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, starting running back Raheem Mostert, and starting wide receiver Deebo Samuel. How will this offense possibly be able to keep up with the high-flying Packers’ offense?
On a positive note, backup quarterback Nick Mullens isn’t that much of a drop off from Garoppolo. The 49ers don’t ask much from their quarterbacks and rely more on a strong running game and defense, but this has been difficult with all the injuries to each of these units.
Mullens was strong during mop up duty last week against the Seahawks. He completed 72% of his passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns after Garoppolo went down. He will be able to manage the offense but the lack of weapons and the loss of the sure-handed Kittle will make for quite the challenge.
The Packers have their fair share of injuries to keep an eye on as well. Most important is the status of running back Aaron Jones. The key playmaker has missed the last two weeks while resting a calf injury. They will need the star back to go or they will be incredibly thin in the backfield. He was a limited participant in practice on Tuesday.
Rookie draft pick A.J. Dillion is already listed as out with a positive COVID-19 test and fellow running back Jamaal Williams is out as well due to his close contact with Dillion. This will be something to keep an eye on throughout the week. If Jones is unable to go it will likely all fall on reserve back Tyler Ervin, who is dealing with a wrist injury, or practice squad back Dexter Williams.
The 49ers can be exploited some on the ground. They have given up 105.6 yards per game on the ground, which lends to the Packers’ strong rushing attack if Jones is able to go. He averages 5.2 yards per attempt in the five games he has played.
Aaron Rodgers to Carry the Offense Again
The Packers were unable to stop the bruising running style of Dalvin Cook and the Vikings. Rodgers was ultimately unable to keep up as the Packers fell 28-22. He wasn’t very accurate on the day (only completed 65.9% of his passes), but he was able to rack up 291 yards and three touchdowns in the air.
The Packers will need a strong vintage Rodgers performance with the running game in question. The Niners have been relatively strong against the pass, but got shredded last week against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. They rank 4th in the NFL only giving up 209.0 passing yards per game on average, but Wilson was able to put up 261 yards passing, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Rodgers will need to put up similar numbers this week to cover the spread with the best oddssetters for American sports betting lines, which is around -5.5 points.
Our NFL Preview’s Green Bay vs San Francisco Predictions & Betting Picks’ Opinion
We lean towards the Packers in this spot but don’t love the current number. This initially opened with the Packers as -3 road favorites, but has risen to -5.5 and -6 in some spots after the news of Jimmy G and Kittle both being out indefinitely.
USAbetting is going to be playing the total under at 50 points. We also expect this number to go down after opening at 51 in most spots. We think the Niners will have a difficult time moving the ball with so many skill players on offense out. They will be without their starting quarterback, their top two running backs, their best offensive weapon and star tight end, and their best wide receiver.
The Packers will likely be down their top three running backs if Aaron Jones can’t go due to the calf injury that has sidelined him for two straight weeks. The lack of a running game will make the Pack offense quite one-dimensional and will allow a strong Niners’ secondary to thrive. We think the Packers will ultimately win and likely cover, but we feel most confident playing the under in this primetime matchup. I see this being a 27-17 victory for the Packers. The verdict of our Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers predictions for this preview is this betting pick: