The Week 9 slate in the NFL gets underway with arguably the most compelling Thursday night game of the season thus far as the 5-2 Green Bay Packers are in Santa Clara for a clash with the 4-4 San Francisco 49ers inside Levi’s Stadium.
This is the fourth meeting between these two teams since October 2018, with the 49ers taking the last two, including the 2019 NFC Championship Game, propelling San Francisco to last season’s Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last won in the Bay Area in 2015, taking down a Colin Kaepernick-led 49er team, 17-3.
Bad Home Cookin’
The Packers were a popular pick in Week 8, favored by a touchdown for much of the week. Then the line slipped to 5.5, but ultimately were beaten outright by Minnesota at Lambeau. Dalvin Cook torched the Green Bay defense for more than 200 total yards, finding paydirt four times, giving him six total touchdowns against their division rival in two meetings this year.
The running back position was already a question mark for the Packers heading into this tight turnaround, and then rookie AJ Dillon tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. Dillon played Monday, so be sure to monitor the impact that has within the Green Bay locker room. Aaron Jones remains questionable after missing the last two games with a calf injury.
San Francisco Trick
The 49ers were already the most injury-riddled team in all of football heading into their Week 8 loss to the Seahawks. But things went from bad to worse with the news that Jimmy Garropolo and George Kittle, both of whom left the Seattle game early, could potentially miss the rest of the regular season with injuries. Tevin Coleman, who had just been reinstated from the IR, also hurt his knee and exited early. This means San Francisco could be down to Jerrick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty at the running back position on Thursday.
The loss slipped the Niners to .500, which in the best division in football, relegates them to last place, staring up at the Rams, Cardinals, and Seahawks.
Betting Line and Pick
The Packers will make the long flight as the road favorites, currently at 3.5, with an over/under of 51. Expect that line to rise over the next few days with the Jimmy G and Kittle news just coming down Monday afternoon. Nick Mullens filled in admirably in relief of Garropolo, albeit in mop-up duty in a game already decided.
He’ll get the start Thursday and should be able to throw the ball against the GB defense, but likely not enough to keep up with Rodgers, who may have to throw it even more than usual depending on his backfield’s situation.
The Packers are 3-1 ATS this season on the road, while the 49ers are 1-3 on their home turf. And Green Bay has been tough coming off a loss, a stout 6-0 ATS in their last six coming off a straight-up defeat.
Pick: Packers -3.5