Before the Green Bay Packers take on the San Francisco 49ers, we have a few predictions for how the game will unfold.
The Green Bay Packers head west to Santa Clara, California, for a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers; I’m sure that statement brings back fond memories for everyone reading this. Fortunately for you, I won’t spend any time focusing on what happened back in January because, really, the big story here is all of the key players missing from this game.
As the injury report suggests, the Green Bay Packers will be without Kevin King, Will Redmond, and Vernon Scott, while David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, Raven Greene, and Rick Wagner are all questionable. On top of that, A.J. Dillon was added to the COVID/reserve list, as was Jamaal Williams and Kamal Martin, because of their close contact with Dillon.
However, that is nothing compared to what the 49ers are dealing with. On the defensive side of the ball, they will be without Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and Richard Sherman. While on offense, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tevin Coleman, Ben Garland, and George Kittle are all also out. Not to mention that we learned Wednesday evening that Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel have all been placed on the COVID/reserve list. And there are several other starters that San Francisco will be without as well.
This is certainly going to be a much different Niners team than who Green Bay faced in the NFC Championship Game.
As we do each week here at Dairyland Express, our crew has put together our predictions for this week’s game. And just like the Green Bay Packers are trying to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Minnesota, all of us are trying to do the same with our predictions.
Kenny Jilek (4-3)
Last week, I predicted a blowout win for the Green Bay Packers, with the caveat that the only way the Vikings could keep it close would be long sustained drives via the run game. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened, and the weather dictated that Green Bay had to try to beat them at their own game with the wind deterring them from throwing the ball down the field. This week, the 49ers will try to do the same with a very depleted roster.
There is no doubt that Kyle Shanahan has seen the film from last week as well as these two teams’ meetings from last season and will build his game plan heavily on that. Without George Kittle, they don’t have a great blocker as an extension of their offensive line, but they still have more than enough to do damage against the Packers’ porous run defense. They’ll do enough to stay in the game and slow Green Bay’s offense down by keeping them off the field, but their injuries will be too much to overcome, and the Packers will come away with a narrow win.
Prediction: Packers 24 – 49ers 16
Matt LeVene (0-1)
A short week, a cross country flight, and COVID cases. This Thursday Night Football matchup will certainly be interesting for the Green Bay Packers as they face the team that embarrassed them in the NFC Championship Game last season. The 49ers, however, are an injury-stricken version of that team. With that being said, they still do something the Packers have not shown the ability to stop, run the football.
Mike Pettine’s defense must be better prepared to stop the run and force backup quarterback Nick Mullens to beat them. If they can contain the run game and force Mullens into pressure throws, they have a good shot at winning this contest. If they do not, Aaron Rodgers and the offense will have to play perfectly.
On the offensive side of the ball, there are still many questions to be answered. Specifically, who is playing running back? Aaron Jones said he feels ready, but the Packers are going to exercise extreme caution to ensure he does not re-aggravate his calf injury by playing too early. Dexter Willaims and Tyler Ervin should be the primary running backs in the event Jones does not play, which means one thing, Rodgers will have to rely heavily on Davante Adams for offensive production. As injured as the 49ers’ defense is, they still provide a tough opponent, so Green Bay must come ready to play.
This game will definitely be a challenge for the Packers, but based on their dismal defensive performance last week, I think they come out with a better game plan. It could go either way, but I have faith in Aaron Rodgers to always put the Packers in a position to win.
Prediction: Packers 24 – 49ers 21
Brian Sampson (4-3)
What a cluster this game will be, huh? Both teams are desperately short, yet the NFL insists on moving forward with a game. The Packers will have to figure out a way to run the ball without, you know, an actual running back. Dexter Williams will be elevated from the practice squad and wide receiver Tyler Ervin will likely also be asked to handle some of the ground game. I fully expect Matt LaFleur to use jet sweeps, wide receiver screens and quick passes to substitute the running game. Buckle up for a wild ride.
Prediction: Packers 27 – 49ers 21
Paul Bretl (5-2)
Goodness, I am torn on this one. Despite Levi’s Stadium being a house of horrors for the Green Bay Packers, my gut still wants to pick them. As I discussed in the intro, this Niners team is incredibly banged up right now, and they will be without several key players, including Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Dee Ford, Brandon Aiyuk, Richard Sherman, and Nick Bosa, among others. However, my fear is that this porous Green Bay run defense still won’t be able to stop the San Francisco offense.
As Matt LaFleur said earlier this week, we all know what the 49ers are going to try to do Thursday night, and it’s really now or never for Mike Pettine. While I can’t say that I’m overly confident in this pick, and it may not always be pretty, the Niners just have too many injuries to overcome.
Prediction: Packers 27 – 49ers 24