Green Bay (1-1) at San Francisco (2-0)
When: Sunday, September 26th, 2021
Where: Levi’s Stadium,
Santa Clara, CA
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: San Francisco -3.5/48.5
For the fourth year in a row, the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers will lock horns in a regular season matchup that could be a preview of a playoff game down the road. Week 3 action ends on Sunday night in this marquee matchup, which has been played in San Francisco two years. Green Bay won 34-17 last year on a Thursday night, holding the Niners to just three points entering the fourth quarter. Nick Mullens was the San Fran QB in that one, subbing for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo. Aaron Rodgers threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns for the Packers, while Davante Adams caught 10 of his passes for 173 yards and a score. Green Bay has won 12 of the past 15 in the regular-season series but the 49ers got the better of the Packers in the NFC Championship Game following the 2019 season.
San Francisco has won their first two games despite all the injuries in their backfield. After losing starter Raheem Mostert to a season-ending knee injury during its opener at Detroit, San Francisco then saw JaMycal Hasty go down with a high ankle sprain at Philadelphia last week. The 49ers won that game 17-11. Rookies Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and Trey Sermon (head) also came out of that game banged up. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Mitchell is day-to-day, while Sermon is in concussion protocol but could play Sunday. The Packers and Rodgers bounced back from a 38-3 season-opening loss to New Orleans and cruised to a 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night. Green Bay’s defense is still a concern heading into this matchup but they will be tough to beat if Rodgers looks more like he did in Week 2 than in Week 1.
Green Bay opened up as 3.5-point underdogs in this one, but the line has been bet down to 3 with all the money on the Packers as of Saturday morning.
The Packers didn’t play well in the first half against the Lions, down 17-14 at the break, but dominated after intermission. Aaron Rodgers was 22-for-27 for 255 yards and four scores, while running back Aaron Jones caught three TD passes and rushed for one. The four touchdowns by Jones tied a Lambeau Field record and a Monday night overall record. Jones was the first NFL running back with three receiving scores in a game since Danny Woodhead in 2015. Rodgers has passed for 18 touchdowns against only two interceptions in the last eight games in the regular season versus the 49ers with a passer rating of 106.9. That is the highest among all quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts against the 49ers in the Super Bowl era. Defensively, Green Bay is getting gashed on the ground to the tune of 139.5 yards a game – 29th in the NFL, but have held their opponents to just 193.5 passing yards a contest. The Packers will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4.
This will be San Francisco’s home opener after recording wins at Detroit (41-33) and Philadelphia (17-11). Rookie QB Trey Lance got zero snaps vs. the Eagles after four vs. the Lions. Fans and some media pundits have demanded Kyle Shanahan insert Lance into the lineup permanently, but Garoppolo is completing 70.9 percent of his passes for 503 yards and no interceptions. His favorite target right now is Deebo Samuel, who has 15 catches for 282 yards. In addition to all the running back injuries, last year’s leading rusher, Jeff Wilson, isn’t expected back until November after suffering a meniscus tear in the offseason. The depth chart will consist of Trenton Cannon and Jacques Patrick, who between them have one carry. Former Lions running back Kerryon Johnson is on the team’s practice squad and could be a possibility to play this week. They also signed eight-year veteran Chris Thompson, who has 1,214 yards in part-time duty with Washington and Jacksonville.
Everyone and their brother are taking the Packers and the points in this one, but the oddsmakers probably know better than we do. The problem the last few years with San Francisco has been quarterback play, not the defense. Garoppolo is being pressured by Lance and that has inspired his solid play so far. This game is now down to to a field goal spread and I will lay the points with the underappreciated 49ers.
Pick: 49ers -3
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