Heading into Monday’s finale of the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend, the San Francisco 49ers were the only Wild Card team to beat a division winner. The Niners went to Dallas and beat the Cowboys in Jerry World, building a 16-point lead and holding on as time expired. Now San Francisco will need to head to the frozen north to take on the top-seeded Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. Below, we’ll take a look at the early NFL odds and the best sportsbook to bet with.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
Saturday, January 22, 2022 – 8:15 PM EST at Lambeau Field
The favored teams went 4-1 over the weekend, with most of the wins being of the lopsided variety. The Niners, however, went to Dallas and beat the NFC East champion Cowboys in Jerry World, building a 16-point fourth-quarter lead and holding on as time expired on a last-ditch Dallas rally. Now, San Francisco will face an even tougher challenge, heading to the frozen north to take on the top-seeded Green Bay Packers in a night game on Saturday.
Green Bay won the NFC North and finished 13-4 on the year, ending the season with a five-game winning streak that wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs heading into a season-ending loss to Detroit. The No. 1 seed also earned the Packers the only bye in the expanded NFC playoffs this year, giving Green Bay time to rest while the rest of the field played Super Wild Card contests.
The Niners have now won three straight and five of six as they closed strong to earn a wild card, then, they won in Dallas in the postseason for the first time ever.
Complicating the game, and likely dominating storylines, there will be bad blood between the two former friends at the helm. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur and San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan were partners as they came up the coaching tree, with LaFleur considering Shanahan a mentor.
The relationship between the two appeared to sour, perhaps because San Francisco made an unsuccessful attempt to pry quarterback Aaron Rodgers away from Green Bay in the offseason. When Green Bay won a tight 30-28 win at San Francisco earlier this season, the two coaches exchanged a drive-by near-miss handshake with no eye contact following the game. Both coaches downplayed the handshake and claim that things are fine between the two.
The Niners nearly knocked off Green Bay in Week 3, and San Francisco is much improved since then. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been one of the NFL leaders in passer rating and yards per attempt in the second half of the season. The Niners’ running game has also taken strides. Leading rusher Elijah Mitchell missed the first game with the Packers. He’s 12th in the NFL in yards per carry and had 96 yards in the Wild Card win over the weekend.
A big concern for San Francisco will be the status of pass rusher Nick Bosa, who suffered a concussion when he was hit by a teammate late in the first half on Sunday. He left the game and is in the league’s concussion protocol, making him a question mark for Sunday.
The NFL gave us a six-degree kickoff temperature last Saturday night, in the Bills win over New England. Now the league takes its prime-time Saturday show to the place that made the “Frozen Tundra” famous—Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.
The early forecast is a 21-degree high and two-degree low in the Bay, so the nighttime kickoff should be about 10 degrees, with a wind chill close to 0.
The Packers credit the Week 3 win with turning around the season, as Rodgers led a last-minute drive for the walk-off field goal.
“Now we’re on our way,” Rodgers said after the game. “Now we can get into this, now we know how to win, and we can get this thing moving in the right direction.”
They’ve done just that, as Rodgers has turned in an MVP season in what might be his last in Green Bay.
The Packers and Niners have split their previous eight postseason matchups, although San Francisco has won the last three, most recently two years ago in the NFC Championship.
The Packers are the better team on paper, and Rodgers is having a spectacular year. It is going to be even easier for him if he doesn’t have to worry about Bosa tracking him down in the backfield. For the above reasons, invest in the Packers with your NFL picks.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.