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The NFC Championship – Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Niners validate my faith in them.

Their defense shut Minnesota down because Mike Zimmer and company are terrible at in-game adjustments. The Niners pass rush was just on point and allowed the offense to run the ball on 30 of its last 36 plays. I figured the Niners would blow the Vikings out by just grinding them down and scoring on long drives and hey, lo and behold they did so. Jimmy G didn’t make any terrible mistakes and the running game was dominant. Now all the Niners have to do is repeat themselves against the Packers. Remember, I foolishly took the Pack +8 when they got creamed 37-8 in week 12 and as I keep saying. (say it with me) it’s hard to beat a team twice in one season.(someone throws a tomato at me) 

The Niners were without Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander and still creamed the Packers offense.

Rodgers turned the ball over on the first possession and the Niners never looked back. The Packers couldn’t get anything going with the run and being down the entire game tipped off the pass on almost every play. Counting on an early turnover isn’t the best thing to do, but I’ve been saying all year that the Packers are the weakest 13-win team I’ve ever seen and that includes some fraudulent Chiefs in the past. Need proof? The Packers are 9-1 in one score games and they just beat the Seahawks by one score after leading by as many as three at the half. 

The Packers are best when playing ahead. Put them behind and their running game is taken away. As for their offensive line, it can be had. San Francisco has one of the best defenses in football and is humming on all cylinders. I totally understand the sentiment that Rodgers finds a way to do it. Here’s definitely going to be a fan favorite in this one and I expect the public to stream to the Packers late in spite of their deficiencies. Don’t be fooled, Davante Adams had his best game all season against a deficient Seattle defense. Now he has to do the same thing in San Francisco. 

Now, as of today 73 percent of the money is on the Pack, so sharps are jumping on them.

The public is more restrained as only 43 percent of the sides have the Pack in this NFC Championship matchup. The over is at 75 percent which seems par for the course, but keep in mind that the Niners are rocking the top-rated pass defense in the league at a paltry 169 YPG. Green Bay’s best hope is to be able to control the flow of the game with the run. Can you see that happening against the Niners? Can you see the Packers consistently controlling possession or jumping out to a quick lead? It’s possible. The Packers are usually pretty good on their first drives with a script, but after that things can get interesting. 

Look, the temptation for a lot of people is going to be to take the Packers. It’s a feel-good story and there will be a lot of sentimental plays going that way, but the reality is that the Niners are a monster. No, seriously, they have seven double-digit wins including last week’s trouncing of the Vikings. The Packers rely on finding ways to keep games close and relying on miracles from Rodgers like last week when it took him completing huge third down passes and the Seahawks blowing a tow point conversion to finish the game out. 

My Take: The question for me isn’t about whether or not Rodgers can take control of the NFC Championship game, but whether or not the Niners will be able to exert their will. I don’t have anything against Matt LaFleur, but Kyle Shanahan is killing it. Maybe LaFleur and company can out scheme the Niners defense and Robert Saleh and maybe Shanahan gets too cute with his play calling. Or maybe the Niners defense smothers Rodgers receivers and pressures him into sacks or a fumble while the offense shreds the Packers thin secondary with George Kittle and the Niners running backs run wild. Maybe Jimmy G keeps his act together and justifies the contract. 

THE PICK: Niners -7.5

CONSIDER: Teasing that total up to 51

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