The San Francisco 49ers have already beaten the Green Bay Packers convincingly this year, but will it be another easy game for them?
With sixty minutes standing between them and their first trip to the Super Bowl since 2013, the San Francisco 49ers face a familiar foe in the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, who they annihilated in Week 12 by a score of 37-8.
This time around, however, many of the experts are on Green Bay’s side now that they have the better quarterback and revenge on the mind. But I want to point to one key stat that tells us a lot about what to expect in this matchup.
Aaron Rodgers is 0-4 in his playoff career against top-10 pass defenses, and if you hadn’t noticed until now, the 49ers are the number one pass defense in all of football this year. Yes, they had a couple of rough weeks around the back end of the season.
But if we look at how stifling they were last week against Minnesota, and then we factor in their pass rush, this defense as a whole is going to cause a lot of problems for the great Aaron Rodgers who has targeted Davante Adams 91 times since Week 10 as opposed to the rest of his receiving core that altogether were targeted 174 times.
That means Adams has been targeted on 34 percent of passing attempts since Week 10, and if we add in the yearly total, he’s seen 23 percent of the overall target share as he’s been targeted 127 times of the team’s overall 542 times.
Just for comparison, he’s on-par with the likes of Julio Jones who’s at 24 percent for the year, Zach Ertz who’s at 22 percent, Travis Kelce who’s at 24 percent, and 49ers’ own George Kittle who’s at 23 percent for the season.
Adams is not quite in Michael Thomas territory (33 percent), but he’s one of the most used weapons in all of football in the passing game, and compared to the rest of his team, he seems to be the only viable weapon on the outside.
The way the Packers use Davante Adams fits right in to what the 49ers can do on the defensive side as they can double him and make Aaron Rodgers (presumably on the run from the Niners’ pass rush) try to find other guys down the field.
To me, I see this as a great matchup for the 49ers, and a matchup they can take full advantage of. Yes, revenge games can be dangerous to the team that was swinging the hammer the first time out.
But at the same time, Green Bay isn’t crazy hot like the Tennessee Titans are right now. If they had to go on the road a couple of times and string together some big performances, that would be another thing.
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But the Packers just had a bye week and then a home game. Now they go back to California where they’ve been manhandled twice this year.
I like the Niners in this game 28-17. I think they keep the Packers relatively low-scoring, enforce their pass rush on Aaron Rodgers, and take Davante Adams virtually out of the mix.
I’m not going to overthink it in terms of the spread because I’ve gotten bitten too many times with the 49ers this year trying to outthink the room and pick up covers. So, I’ll just ride with the Niners to win and cover.
On the flip side, once again we have to worry about Jimmy Garoppolo giving up possessions due to turnovers.
But one thing that Garoppolo has done a good job with this year is shaking off mistakes and coming back stronger. He’ll throw you a bad interception and come right back out and put up six.
As long as he doesn’t get too crazy and keep the Packers in this game, I like the 49ers to take it and move on to the Super Bowl.