Key factors in SNF as the Packers take on the Niners

Aaron Jones
The Packers are favored on SNF. Photo from Dairyland Express.

Primetime games have been amazing this year in the NFL. Let’s hope that continues tonight with the Packers vs 49ers. Both teams are in a bit of an uncomfortable place right now with a lot of uncertainty about how their seasons might go. This Sunday Night Football game should help clear a lot of things up.

Packers vs 49ers

Just a few base notes before we get started. The 49ers are without a doubt the underdogs in this fight. They also have more injuries and a harder schedule over the next 5 weeks.

Yes, they have the better record up to this point at 2-0 but they have barely managed to beat the joke of the NFL (Lions) and the Eagles, who have been imploding for over a year. With all of that being said, let’s look at what either of these teams would have to do to win on Sunday night.

Running backs

The 49ers are down 3 running backs, likely 4 tonight with Eli Mitchell doubtful on Sunday morning. Even with all running backs healthy, the Packers have an undoubtedly better rushing attack. Aaron Jones has had over 1,000 yards rushing and over 45 receptions his past 2 seasons.

Even with the better Quarterback, I expect the Packers to keep the ball on the ground quite a bit this game.

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo is doing well this season. He is on pace for over 4,000 years and has 70% completion so far.

If he keeps it up, this would be his best season to date, but keep in mind he has only played the Lions and Eagles. On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers has just come off his best season ever but is having a slow start to the 2021 season.

Rodgers did have a bounce-back game against the Lions last week, but all eyes are on him and the Packers to see if they can keep it up and return to Super Bowl contention form.


Receivers

Both team’s receiving games have been down the past few years. The Packers haven’t had any type of consistency except Davante Adams in the past 3 seasons. Even worse than them, the 49ers have had a different reception leader 5 out of their last 6 seasons.

On the bright side, San Francisco has the NFL receiving yards leader in Deebo Samuel (except Brandin Cooks and D.J. Moore who played on Thursday Night Football, giving them an extra game).

George Kittle has had his slowest start to a season since his rookie year, and the Packers #2 receiver seems to be their running back. Also, Brandon Aiyuk is nowhere to be found this year. All of these things are more reasons the Packers will keep the ball on the ground. If one team has someone step up before the other, I think they have a great shot at winning this game.

Defense

The only common ground we have here is the Lions. Both teams have faced off against Jared Goff and his new team. It looked like the 49ers were on pace to have a better showing against the Lions than the Packers.

They were up 38-17 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Then in the 4th, Detroit managed to outscore the 49ers 17-3. The final score was 41-33 and the Lions managed to end with the ball, making this game way closer than it should have been. The Packers also allowed 90 fewer passing yards, 2 fewer touchdowns, and had 2 more sacks.

Prediction

After writing all the stats out and taking a good look at where both teams stand after week 2, I think this game could be closer than I anticipated.

While I still expect the Packers to take this one, Garoppolo is looking better than expected and the receiving game is still up in the air.

Prediction: Green Bay 35-27 San Francisco

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