Sunday’s NFC Championship game features a match-up between two quarterbacks in very different spots in their respective careers. Aaron Rodgers is a sure-fire Hall of Famer that already has a Super Bowl title on his resume. In sharp contrast, Jimmy Garoppolo is still looking to cement his status as an elite signal caller for the 49ers.
The disparity in the quarterback match-up makes it a bit of a surprise that Green Bay come into this game as 7-point underdogs. San Francisco has definitely been the better team to date, but the idea of betting against Rodgers in a one game scenario is troubling.
Before you lock in your final wagers on Sunday night’s game, you absolutely must visit our exclusive Statschecker Site to get every potential edge you can. I’ll give you five intriguing facts from the site in this piece, but you need to visit yourself to learn everything we have to offer.
1. The Packers want to run the ball
Green Bay’s offense isn’t built around Rodgers this year. In fact, it’s a different Aaron that should appear at the top of San Francisco’s scouting report. The Packers desperately want to get Aaron Jones going early in this game.
He’s a big reason why the Packers are just one step away from a Super Bowl berth. He’s found the end zone twice in three of his team’s last four games.
2. Don’t sleep on Raheem Mostert
Jones is the best running back in this game, but Mostert is a quality running back in his own right. He’s scored at least once touchdown in six of the 49ers’ last seven games. Green Bay cannot afford to lose track on him out of the backfield.
Look for the Packers’ coaching staff to devise a scheme designed to make Garoppolo beat them with precise throws down the field. They can’t afford to let the 49ers dominate the time of possession with runs and short passes. If Mostert gets loose on the ground, Green Bay is in big trouble.
3. Davante Adams will be a problem for the ‘Niners
Adams struggled for a large portion of the regular season due to injury, but he’s played like a legitimate Pro Bowler down the stretch. He’s scored the first touchdown in three of his team’s last six games.
That obviously means that Green Bay want to get him off to a relatively good start against San Francisco’s defense. If Rodgers gets time to throw he’s going to find Adams for big plays. The 49ers will do everything they can to make sure Rodgers runs for his life every time he drops back to pass.
4. San Francisco dominated this match-up in December
The last time these two teams got together was arguably the low point of Green Bay’s season. Getting trounced by a final score of 37-8 means the Packers will be looking for revenge in Sunday’s game.
On the other hand, it also means San Francisco will come into the encounter with a ton of confidence. They can’t afford to be complacent after blowing Green Bay out in the regular season, but they don’t have to completely reinvent their game plan either. San Francisco’s coaching staff needs to make some healthy tweaks before Sunday night, but they don’t need to change everything.
5. This could be a defensive battle
Both teams feature some big names on offense, but neither side would still be dreaming of a Super Bowl berth without the stellar play of their respective defenses. Both units come into this one allowing less than 20 points per game.
That puts real pressure on both offenses to outperform expectations. That pressure means there is a real chance that neither group will really get things going. Don’t expect a battle of field goals, but it may not be an aerial show either. This could be a real grind for everyone.
Don’t trust Garoppolo
I love the 49ers coaching staff, but I do struggle to really buy into the idea that Garoppolo is going to carry the team when it counts. Those concerns are amplified when you consider the fact that he’s playing against a very talented Green Bay defense in this one.
I’m not quite prepared to predict an upset in this one, but I am ready to give Aaron Rodgers seven points to work with on Sunday. Play it safe and just take the Packers to cover by keeping this game close.