Heading into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, the Packers are 7.5-point underdogs as the road team. Undoubtedly, bettors are taking the last game between these two teams into consideration when coming up with a spread.
Back in Week 12, San Francisco’s offense would not be denied as they nearly doubled Green Bay’s offensive output in terms of yards. The Packers would have no answers for the 49ers’ multi-faceted offense as they were outscored 37-8 at Levi’s Stadium.
For Green Bay to advance to the Super Bowl, their defense is going to have to play exponentially better than they did in Week 12. With that in mind, here are three bold predictions for the Packers’ defense against the 49ers.
3. Green Bay forces three turnovers on Jimmy Garoppolo
Over the course of the regular season, many people have pointed toward Jimmy Garoppolo as the weakest link of the 49ers’ offense. One of the reasons why their argument is warranted is that Garoppolo showed to be prone to turnovers at times in the regular season.
In his 16 starts in 2019, Garoppolo threw 13 interceptions and fumbled the ball five times. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round, the 49ers’ signal-caller threw an errant pass that was intercepted by Eric Kendricks.
Given that, Green Bay’s defense is more than capable of forcing three turnovers on Garoppolo on Sunday. The Packers have a defense that is ranked seventh-best in the NFL in takeaways.
2. The Packers sack Garoppolo five times
Last offseason, the Packers spent a boatload of money to sign Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in hopes the acquisitions would bolster their pass rush. Without a doubt, the decision to pay both edge rushers paid dividends immediately.
In the regular season, the Smith duo combined for 25.5 sacks, 28 tackles for loss, 60 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. Furthermore, the two talented sack-artists accumulated four sacks together versus the Seahawks last Sunday.
The Smith duo, coupled with the rest of the defense, will get to Garoppolo five times on Sunday. The 49ers’ franchise quarterback was sacked five or more times just twice in the regular season.
1. Green Bay will contain San Francisco to under 100 rushing yards
When watching Kyle Shanahan’s offense, there’s no doubt that it’s predicated on running the ball. To prove this, San Francisco boasted the second-ranked rushing attack in the regular season, averaging 144.1 yards per game.
In their playoff game versus the Vikings last week, they rushed for 186 yards en route to a double-digit victory. Considering those numbers, it’s bold to exclaim that the Packers can slow down San Francisco’s electric rushing attack.
The last time these two teams faced one another, the Packers didn’t give up too much as the 49ers rushed for 112 yards. This time around, Green Bay’s defense will contain San Francisco to under 100 rushing yards for the first time since Week 11.