NFC Playoff Betting -- Niners look to stop the Green Bay freight train

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sat, Jan 20th, 2024 2:47:36 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

Can the Green Bay Packers continue their hot streak? We'll find out, as they face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs on Saturday night in Santa Clara.

The Green Bay Packers couldn't possibly be coming into the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs with a bigger head of steam. Their late drive included six wins in eight games, and then they shocked everyone in AT&T Stadium with a demolition of the Dallas Cowboys, in which they got off to a 27-0 lead and jogged to a 48-32 victory.

Will BetOnline customers afford them a chance to topple the San Francisco 49ers, who have some rest under their belts by virtue of being the #1 seed in the NFC?

It would be difficult and distorting to look at the Packers' numbers over the entire season. That's because they were a totally different ballclub in the first half of the campaign, going 3-6. Over those first nine games, they started games very slow, averaging slightly over one point per drive in the first half. in these last nine games, they have averaged 2.79 points per first half drive.

That's what you call a transformation.

Of course, this was going to be a transformation anyway, because Green Bay dealt Aaron Rodgers, the four-time MVP, to the New York Jets. Jordan Love inherited the position, and although things were a little choppy early, he has come on like a freight train.

In the win over Dallas, Love completed 16 of 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns. No other quarterback was as efficient as he was during the first weekend of the playoffs.

And over his last nine games, Love has 21 touchdown passes with only one interception. It's pretty hard to beat a guy like that.

In the NFC playoff betting odds that have been established on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Niners are the favorites:

San Francisco 49ers -10
Green Bay Packers +10

Over 50.5 Points -110
Under 50.5 Points -110

One of the things that has been essential for the Packers is that Aaron Jones has re-established himself with authority. Jones was already one of the better backs in the NFL, when healthy. The problem for him is that he wasn't right because of some injuries. But over the last four games, he's had 476 yards on the ground, averaging 5.7 per carry. He's giving Green Bay the kind of balance it needs, but he's going to have to keep doing it of they are going to have a chance to move to the next step.

The defensive side of the ball is where the Packers may wind up overmatched. Green Bay ranked 27th in Defensive DVOA and intercepted only seven passes. This opens things up for the San Francisco offense, and Kyle Shanahan hopes they won't have some rust after a walk-through against the Rams in the regular season finale and a bye week.

There is quite a preponderance of firepower on this Niner team, with NFL rushing leader Christian McCaffrey, All-Pro wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk and All-Pro tight end George Kittle. We could give you a lot of numbers, but the one that is rather astounding is that when all of those guys are on the field at the same time, this team averages 7.3 yards per play.

They get started quickly; San Francisco has a point differential of +108 in the first halves of games. And on 31% of their snaps, they've had a double-digit lead. This is the kind of thing that puts Green Bay behind the eight-ball.

Head coaches Shanahan and Matt LeFleur are long time collaborators, having worked together on three different staffs. There is nothing secret between the two. And when the stakes are highest (two playoff meetings), the Niners have imposed their will through the running game, because Shanahan knows Joe Barry's defensive philosophy and scheme inside out.

We admire the progress of Love and the Packers, but this is the end of the line for them, as we see the Niners running away with this one. Lay the points.

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