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Packers at 49ers Picks and NFL Betting Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 1/9/2013

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick

When listing the top playoff rivalries in the NFL, it might take someone a long time before they get to Green Bay vs. San Francisco. But when the Packers and 49ers square off this weekend, it will be reminiscent of some of the most epic postseason battles of the last quarter-century.

Green Bay (12-5) will travel west to take on San Francisco (11-4-1) at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Candlestick Park. The No. 4 Packers advanced last week by downing Minnesota in a Wild Card matchup while San Francisco is the No. 2 seed in the conference.

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These two classic franchises met in the playoffs four consecutive years from 1995 to 1998. From Green Bay’s stunning upset as a 10-point underdog in the 1996 Divisional Round to San Fran’s incredible last-second win – OWENS! OWENS! OWENS! – in the Wild Card Round in 1999, these two traded blows each January. The winner advanced to the Super Bowl three times in those four years, with the Pack and Niners each winning a title in that time.

Here is a look at the Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers Divisional Round playoff matchup:

Packers at 49ers Betting Storylines

Not only is this a rematch from several vintage 1990s playoff games, but it is also a rematch of a Week 1 meeting just this year.

San Francisco blitzed the Packers in Lambeau Field in Week 1, winning 30-22 as a six-point underdog. The Niners never trailed in that game and held a 23-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. It was San Francisco’s first win, in nine tries, over The Pack since Owens’ catch in that 1999 postseason game.

The 49ers bludgeoned the Packers defense with a thumping running attack in this year’s opener. They ran for 186 yards on 32 carries, and that helped them to a 33:00 to 27:00 advantage in time of possession. That game would set the tone for the 49ers offense this season, as San Francisco finished the regular season No. 4 in the league in rushing with 155.6 yards per game.

Green Bay remained vulnerable against the run all season, allowing 118.5 yards per game, and if they want to spring the upset this time around they will first need to bow their backs against Frank Gore and San Fran’s punishing ground game.

One major difference in this meeting is that Alex Smith was under center for San Fran in Week 1. Playoff newcomer Colin Kaepernick, an uber-talented second-year signal caller that started the Niners’ last seven games, has replaced him. Kaepernick has gone 5-2 as a starter and has 10 touchdowns and a 98.3 quarterback rating to go along with a 62.4 percent completion rate.

A major question mark for the Niners in this game is how will Kaepernick respond to a postseason atmosphere? He was brilliant in a “Monday Night Football” road start at New England, a team set up similarly to the Packers, back in Week 15. But he also – along with the rest of the team – fell flat the following week in a big game at Seattle.

I think that Kaepernick will be fine. He will make some plays with his legs and will make a couple throws down the field. But the key will be if he can maintain his accuracy. He has not completely more than 57 percent of his passes in his last three games, and if there are two things that a QB can’t do in the postseason it is A) turn the ball over and B) miss easy throws.

Rodgers does not miss throws.

The former Super Bowl MVP is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He is 6-2 in his career in the playoffs, with 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions, a 105.4 rating and 66 percent completions. He is as good as it gets. And he will have to be razor-sharp against one of the best defenses in football.

San Francisco simply punishes people with their defense. They are ranked in the Top 5 in total defense, passing, rushing and scoring and, for my money, are clearly the best defensive unit in the game. They have had two weeks to prepare and will set the tone for this one.

Both teams are hoping to draw on recent playoff success. But they are also hoping to abolish the horrid memories of crushing postseason defeats suffered at the hands of the New York Giants last year. The Packers, after a 15-1 regular season, were blown out at home in this round while San Francisco lost in overtime in the NFC Title game.

Packers at 49ers NFL Odds and Betting Trends

The spread on this game opened with the host Niners at -3.0. It has held firm during the week, despite two-thirds of the action coming in on the Packers. However, most books have San Fran at +105 or +110 laying the points. The total is set at 44.5.

The Packers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight Divisional Round games. They are also 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games against a team with a winning record and 5-1 ATS in their last six playoff games. Green Bay is 4-1 ATS in their last five playoff road games.

San Francisco is 14-5-1 ATS in its last 20 home games, and they are 23-11-1 ATS in their last 35 games overall. San Francisco is 0-5-1 ATS in their last six times hosting the Packers, and Green Bay has gone 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven meetings with San Francisco overall.

Packers at 49ers Picks and NFL Betting Predictions

Well, I don’t think that the favorites are going to go 4-0 ATS again this week. So I think that this one has as good of a chance of being an upset as any game this weekend. The Packers were blindsided in Week 1 when these two met. But they are a better, more focused team right now that is playing as well as they have all season. And this is still the same team that has gone 32-7 straight up in its last 39 games dating back to their 2010 Super Bowl title run. The Packers defense scares me because, at times, they look like they can’t stop anyone. But now that Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson are back in the fold this group is as solid as it has been at any point this year.

In the end, I will take Rodgers over Kaepernick any day of the week and twice on Sunday. In this case I’ll only have to take them once, on Saturday. Take the points and look for Green Bay to get the job done.

Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s NFL picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any NFL handicapper on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert football handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.

Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s NFL picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any NFL handicapper on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert football handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.

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