When the Packers travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers to open NFL Week 9 on “Thursday Night Football” (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video), they are trying to avenge two losses from last season. Green Bay comes in having lost two of the past three games, including an upset loss to Minnesota in Week 8. San Francisco fell to Seattle, ending a two-game winning streak.
The Packers’ biggest injury issue is at running back, where Aaron Jones (calf-questionable) is a game-time decision with both Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon (COVID-19) not playing. The backfield work could fall on the combination of Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams. The good news is, wide receiver Allen Lazard may return to flank Davante Adams and boost Aaron Rodgers.
The 49ers lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and tight end George Kittle (foot) to significant injuries last week. Running backs Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Tevin Coleman (knee) are also on the shelf. At wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) already couldn’t play, and now wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne won’t play because of a positive COVID-19 test, along with left tackle Trent Williams. The 49ers also been playing without their defensive leaders, Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman.
Do Nick Mullens, JaMycal Hasty, Jerick McKinnon and the rest of the 49ers’ key backups have a chance opposite Rodgers?
Here’s everything to know about betting on Packers vs. 49ers in Week 9, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Thursday Night Football.”
NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up
Packers vs. 49ers odds for ‘Thursday Night Football’
The initial line was very favorable for the Packers, as it was 2.5 before the 49ers revealed the results of the Sunday injuries to Garoppolo and Kittle. Still, it didn’t grow to above a full touchdown and extra point until the 49ers were hit with a COVID-19 outbreak. They’re not bigger underdogs because of short-week home field and their recent good history against the Packers defense.
Packers vs. 49ers all-time series
The Packers lead 36-32-1. The 49ers won twice last season, 37-8 in the regular season and 37-20 in the NFC championship game. Before that stretch, the Packers enjoyed a two-game winning streak in the series to counter the 49ers winning four in a row, going back to Colin Kaepernick twice in 2012. The 49ers have won six of the past 8 to narrow the gap in a classic NFC rivalry.
Three trends to know
— 57 percent of spread bettors like the Packers to cover as short-week home favorites against an injury-depleted 49ers team.
— Half of over/under bettors like the total to go over. Another half like the total to go under..
— The Packers are 5-2 against the spread this season with the total going over in four of their games. The 49ers are 4-4 against the spread and the total has gone over in four of their games, too.
Three things to watch
Who catches balls from Mullens?
Trent Taylor is their only reliable wide receiver with no Samuel, Aiyuk or Bourne. Jordan Reed (ankle) might be activated from IR to replace Kittle at tight end, or it will be Ross Dwelley. McKinnon and Hasty should get some chances in the passing game, too. The Packers are vulnerable at linebacker and safety, so look for Mullens to work the middle of the field to make up for not having top outside threats, especially with cornerback Jaire Alexander looming in coverage on the outside.
Will the Packers stop the run?
The Packers allow an average of nearly 170 yards from scrimmage to running backs. They couldn’t contain explosive Vikings feature back Dalvin Cook at all, costing them a victory. The 49ers had their way with Green Bay offensively last season, using the run to set up big pass plays. There’s no doubt that Kyle Shanahan will feed Hasty and McKinnon often to move the ball, control the clock, help Mullens and help keep Rodgers off the field. The Packers need to sell out and stop the run and take their chances with Mullens throwing often, or either aggressively look to take a significant early lead with Rodgers.
Will Davante Adams stay hot?
Adams destroyed the weak secondaries of the Texans and the Vikings in the Packers’ past two games. He has combined for 20 catches on 27 targets for 249 yards and 5 TDs. The 49ers, with struggling Emmanuel Mosley, just allowed the Seahawks’ DK Metcalf to rip through them outside. In two career games against the 49ers, Adams has caught 17 of 28 targets for 176 yards and 3 TDs.
Stat that matters
26.7. That’s how many points per game on average the Packers are giving up, making them the No. 20 scoring defense in the NFL. They are bound to keep the 49ers in the game on the other side of Rodgers. Keep in mind, two years ago, with C.J. Beathard starting at QB for Shanahan, the 49ers lost a 33-30 shootout in Lambeau Field. These 49ers just matchup well with the Packers.
Packers vs. 49ers prediction
This game will be tighter and high-scoring than expected because of struggles for both defenses, with the Packers surviving as Rodgers does more through the air than the 49ers are able to do on the ground to support Mullens.
Packers 27, 49ers 24
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