This is the only game of the weekend where the road team is favored, and the road team has better future NFL odds to win the NFC and the Super Bowl.
Rivalry renewed: ‘Ice Bowl II’
These two teams hooked up in Week 1, and it was no contest. The Packers lost 34-28 in San Francisco, and even though this week is in Green Bay, the weather is going to be favoring the 49ers. Not only are the 49ers more prepared to play in frigid temperatures, but with Aaron Rodgers making only his 2nd start since Week 9, and with the temperature set to give the ‘Ice Bowl,” a run for it’s money, I doubt the Packers’ passing offense is as effective in subzero temperature.
The 49erd were already one of the league’s leading road teams ATS, going 6-0-1 ATS in their final seven road games. Even though their offense has had it’s issues at times over the season, they are finally healthy in that department, and if the Packers can’t stop the Niners’ run game, it’s likely going to be difficult to win, even at home.
The Sharp Pick
The 49ers have won and covered their last three meetings with the Packers, including a blowout in last year’s playoffs. In those three meetings, Green Bay has given up an average of 36 points per game, and even though this game will likely not see that much scoring, a lower scoring game still favors San Francisco. In their last five games against the Niners, the Packers have covered only once.
The only inactive for the Packers this week is a big one, as Clay Matthews is not ready to return from thumb surgery. However the rest of the injured Packers defenders are ready to roll in this game, including Brad Jones and Nick Perry.
For the 49ers, Carlos Rodgers and Dan Skuta are the only big concerns for the Niners this week. Rodgers has not practiced all week and is questionable for Sunday’s game. They lucked out getting the Sunday game giving Rodgers another day to heel his ailing hamstring, however if he can’t go, it’s going to put a strain on the Niners’ secondary. Skuta did get in limited practice all week so his status is a little less up in the air.
Even if Rodgers can’t go, I still think the Niners are the NFL pick here at -2 ½. With a superior defense, and a superior running game, the Packers should prevail on the road, even in the elements. If C. Rodgers plays it should be a big burden on the other Rodgers in this game, and it could ultimately decide whether this game is close, or if the Niners control it like they have so many times in their recent games with the Packers.
My Pick: 49ers -2 ½