Thursday Night Football Picks: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Predictions
- The 49ers generated 240 yards of offense and three touchdowns on Nick Mullens’ three drives in Week 8
Despite a solid performance from Aaron Rodgers in Week 8, the Packers suffered their second loss since their bye three weeks ago. In both games, their rush defense let them down, as the Buccaneers in Week 6 and the Vikings in Week 8 both ran for over 150 yards.
Green Bay’s offense looked fine, putting up 400 total yards in a windy environment. Rodgers found Davante Adams for three scores, and Adams continues to look unguardable as Rodgers’ primary pass-catcher. The Packers will be without secondary running backs Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon in Week 9 due to their placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but that might expedite the return of starter Aaron Jones, who has missed the past two games. Jones is questionable to play, but his presence would certainly be a big boost to a concentrated offense that tends to flow through its biggest playmakers.
The 49ers are down even more skill position players; their entire theoretical starting lineup will be inactive. Jimmy Garoppolo is out, as are George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman. Left tackle Trent Williams was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and won’t play. The backfield will be led by Jerick McKinnon and UDFA JaMycal Hasty, while guys like Ross Dwelley and Trent Taylor will see expanded roles as pass-catchers.
The Packers have shown they can be beaten on the ground, and they are now on the road on a short week. Kyle Shanahan’s run schemes have typically been able to replace running backs at will without losing much efficiency, and the passing offense is also so dependent on motion, misdirection, and short completions that the loss of Garoppolo isn’t as devastating as other quarterback injuries have been to other offenses. Nick Mullens played very well in the second half against Seattle last week, but this whole offense is depleted.
The Packers will be motivated and I expect they can come out with the road win, but don’t be surprised if San Francisco shows surprisingly well on offense given how well they are coached. The 49ers also tend to play much faster when trailing than in neutral situations, going from 32nd in situation-neutral pace to third when trailing by seven or more points. It’s hard to know how San Francisco will respond with so many players out, but even if they fall behind, they should push the tempo and try to get back into this game. I’ll take the over in what could be a surprisingly competitive contest into the second half.
NFL Expert Picks
Over 48.5 @ -106
NFL Free Picks
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