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Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Point Spread - Pick

Green Bay Packers (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (14-3 SU, 10-6-1 ATS)
NFC Championship Game
Date/Time: Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 6:40PM EST
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: GB +7/SF -7
Over/Under Total: 45

The Green Bay Packers come to Levi's Stadium on Sunday to take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game. Not a ton of people picked these two squads to be the last teams standing in this conference, particularly after each team finished last season below .500. Both teams saw some changes resonate really well, with some better breaks resulting in better seasons for both. And each team looked the part of the two top seeds in the conference this past weekend, with their respective divisional playoff wins. The 49ers were very thorough and professional in their home 27-10 win over the Vikings, looking to be in fine form as they now approach crunch-time. Green Bay, meanwhile, was able to get the better of a good and gutty Seattle team on Sunday, 28-23. The winner gets to the Super Bowl. Who can get the upper hand in this one?

By the time you get to the conference title game, what happened earlier in the season can be negligible. But when teams match up this late in the postseason and you have a week 12 game in this very building to refer to, you have to take a look. And it paints Green Bay in a horrible light, as they suffered a demoralizing 37-8 defeat where nothing went right. The San Fran offense ran without a hitch. The defense made plays left and right. So we want to approach this with a sense of balance—not take the Green Bay flop on week 12 too much to heart, but acknowledge it at the same time.

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When looking at the Packers, it's easy to see how people can underestimate their true worth. We see that despite a great record and that they're one win away from the Super Bowl, both sides of the ball play with a wide range of form. And on paper, there is nothing that fearsome. You see an offense that finished mid-pack. They have a good back in Aaron Jones and a fine receiver in Davante Adams, with not a ton of other viable weapons. On the other side of the ball, we see a defense ranked 14th against the pass and 23rd against the run. So on paper, we don't really see the bells and whistles normally associated with Super Bowl teams.

But as is often the case, what exists on paper only tells part of the story, And if relying with what's on paper when evaluating the Packers, one is likely to miss the boat entirely. It's true that the offense doesn't have a wealth of big-name weapons. But what they have has been enough and on Sunday, we saw how good Jones and Adams are in this offense, as both have a nose for big plays and are in good form right now. Jones really has a knack for finding the end zone, with two more scores on Sunday, while Adams chipped in with a pair of TD grabs, among his 160 yards on the day. Add in guys like Allen Lazard (questionable), Jimmy Graham, Geronimo Allison, and it's a pretty useful cast. Helping it all come together is the cool hand of the ultra-experienced and clutch Aaron Rodgers. And having him in there helping navigate this team in late-game high-pressure situations is worth its weight in gold.

On Sunday, we saw the good and bad of the Green Bay defense. In the first half, they were excellent. As the game wore on, they grew fatigued, as Seattle never stopped coming, with Russell Wilson giving it his all and nearly leading his team all the way back after a 21-3 halftime deficit. And it wasn't a good look late, as one could see Packers' defenders doubled-over with fatigue, as Seattle made big headway in the second half. But when they needed it, they got it—with clutch play on this side of the ball paying off big. With a big pass-rush from guys like Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith, and Kenny Clark, they were able to swing things in their favor.

Regardless of what the scores indicated in the other games from divisional playoff weekend, the 49ers' win over Minnesota might have been the most complete of the weekend. In other words, the Niners were more who they wanted to be, showing exactly what makes them a major threat to take it all down this season. In holding a powerful and balanced Vikings offense to ten points, we saw the full menace of this Frisco "D." And with the run-game manifesting nicely, even against a tough Minnesota front-seven, the recipe is in place and the Niners have shown they can make it work in this context. Oh, and it never hurts to be at home.

His numbers might not always be great, but I like the way Jimmy Garoppolo runs this offense. There's a calmness and a certain know-how and efficiency that can go a long way. He knows how to commandeer this offense expertly, working behind a good offensive line. The run-package of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida is a monster, with any of those guys likely to step up at any time with a big game. With George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders, Garoppolo can air it out. He has great weapons to complement the bigger stars of the offense with big-catch tight end Kendrick Bourne among the better role guys on this offense.

The defense was great against Minnesota and if San Fran goes far this season, this side of the ball will have been a big part of that. They had all facets of this unit firing on Saturday. They got after Cousins in a big way, with Nick Bosa registering two sacks and just being generally very disruptive. Also getting into the mix was Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Dee Ford. The return of Ford and his speed-rush adds yet another dimension to this defense and on Sunday, we saw what a full-powered 49ers' defense can do. Richard Sherman had a pick and the secondary is both stout, with some major playmaking upside to go along with it.

For me, the major matchup issue in this game just might be a home San Fran defense against a Green Bay road-offense that might struggle in this spot. The things Green Bay was able to do against an exploitable Seattle defense might not translate as well in this spot. Green Bay is a balanced team, one that executes well and is solidified by good coaching, with a real winner at QB. So it's not like those things can't resonate, even in this elevated context. I just see the San Francisco recipe for success being the more reliable formula in this matchup. I'll lay the points on the Niners.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the San Francisco 49ers minus 7 points. Bet the Packers vs. 49ers NFC title game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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