Packers Wire staff predictions: Divisional round vs. 49ers

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Packers Wire staff predictions: Divisional round vs. 49ers
© Provided by Packers Wire

The Green Bay Packers (13-4) can book a third-straight trip to the NFC title game by beating the San Francisco 49ers (11-7) on Saturday night at Lambeau Field in the divisional round.

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The top-seeded Packers and sixth-seeded 49ers are scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. CT kickoff.

Here’s how the staff at Packers Wire believes the divisional round showdown with the 49ers will go down:

Zach Kruse (10-7): Packers 24, 49ers 20

Global Tech News Daily

With a dominant run game, physical play at the line of scrimmage, a pass-rush capable of disrupting with four rushers and elite players on both sides of the football, the sixth-seeded 49ers present a formidable challenge for the Packers to open the postseason. But Matt LaFleur’s team is the biggest betting favorite in the divisional round for good reasons – the Packers are deep and talented, enjoy a significant advantage at quarterback and will be playing in the cold at Lambeau Field, where Green Bay is unbeaten this season. Expect a four-quarter fight, but I think Jimmy Garoppolo’s injuries and inconsistency will hurt the 49ers in a few big spots, and I don’t think the 49ers can consistently keep Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams from creating big plays. The guess here: Green Bay handles an early onslaught, gets comfortable midgame and then delivers a big takeaway in the second half to turn the game, and the Packers escape with a hard-earned playoff victory.

Jack Wepfer (13-4): Packers 29, 49ers 26

Perhaps I’ve been burned too many times in the playoffs to expect the Packers to roll comfortably. While I think the Packers will control the game and the score may not be quite as indicative as the outcome, I see this game very much like many of their wins this year – controlling the game, sputtering in the third quarter, and doing enough to seal the victory. There might be rust, but the 49ers are a tough defense who’s been playing much better than the last time these two teams matched up. While the Packers have a cavalry of preferred starters returning, I think there could be a little rust there. Still, Jaire Alexander, even if he’s not 100%, will be a huge overall upgrade for the secondary, and he can play anywhere. Za’Dairus Smith can spell interior pass rush reps from players like Dean Lowry; if Whitney Mercilus is able to go, it means you’re not trotting out LaDarius Hamilton and Tipa Galaei for entire drives. The front four should be solid, and I think DeVondre Campbell makes a world of difference in the middle. They’re simply built to limit the damage that San Francisco can do. There’s also the Rodgers factor. I do worry a bit that these turnovers come in waves; he’s thrown just four picks this year. That’s a great indicator that he’s unlikely to turn the ball over, but you never know in the playoffs. The Packers just need to protect the ball, work the offense, and I think things will take care of themselves (and special teams stays out of the way).

Brandon Carwile (12-5): Packers 28, 49ers 21

Global Tech News Daily

It’s going to be a close game. It doesn’t look like Green Bay will have Marquez Valdes-Scantling and the fact that David Bakhtiari is listed as questionable is concerning. The Packers beat the 49ers with Yosh Nijman starting at left tackle in Week 3, so maybe it’s not a huge deal if No. 69 isn’t able to play. Perhaps Matt LaFleur is just playing mind games with his buddy Kyle Shanahan but that seems unlikely. My main concern is Deebo Samuel. Shanahan has really tapped into his receiver’s potential and San Francisco’s ground game appears to be picking up steam. Let’s hope Green Bay doesn’t trail for a large portion of the game and can force Jimmy Garaoppolo to beat them.

Joe Kipp (11-6): Packers 27, 49ers 20

Throw the records of these two teams out the window. I fully expect the Packers to win, but I don’t think it’s going to be easy. Green Bay SHOULD win this game. They’re the better team on paper. They’re the No. 1 seed. Aaron Rodgers is probably going to be the NFL MVP. Green Bay is getting healthy and returning multiple key players. The list goes on and on. The 49ers are red hot though, having won 8 of their last 10 games. I don’t expect the Packers to fully shut down Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell and San Fran’s rushing attack. Plus, Kyle Shanahan is a hell of an offensive play caller. In the end, I think Rodgers leads the offense to an efficient day, while the defense is able to exploit the 49ers’ biggest weakness: Jimmy Garoppolo. Pack win by a touchdown.

Brennen Rupp (9-4): Packers 31, 49ers 17

I fully expect Joe Barry to stack the box in an attempt to slow down San Francisco’s ground game. They have gang tackle when Deebo Samuel has the ball in his hands. He’s capable of scoring whenever he has the ball in his hands. Aaron Rodgers will be lights out. Davante Adams will have a big game. A.J. Dillon will have a rushing touchdown. There will be no special teams blunders. Green Bay advances to a third straight NFC Championship Game.

Writer Prediction Score Record
Zach Kruse Win 24-20 10-7
Jack Wepfer Win 29-26 13-4
Brandon Carwile Win 28-21 12-5
Joe Kipp Win 27-20 11-6
Brennen Rupp Win 31-17 9-4


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