NFC Championship Odds: San Francisco 49ers: The Good and the Bad

Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Jets NFL Week 6 Monday Night

At the beginning of the season, nobody knew quite what to expect out of the San Francisco 49ers. But as they were in the midst of an 8-0 start, more and more people started to believe. And then it wasn’t so inconceivable that they could unseat the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West.

And then they did.

So here they are, as a favorite to get to – and win – the Super Bowl. So they’ll have to take care of business on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, starting at 6:40 PM ET. Oh, they’ll have a home field advantage, as they play it at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. And that’s not all they have going for them. But what might be the stumbling blocks?

We’ll examine.

Here are the odds in that game, according to our friends at BetAnySports:

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers Betting Odds

Packers +7½ (-110) 46½ (-105) +299
49ers -7½ (-110) 46½ (-115) -375
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So what do the Niners have going for them?

A deeeeeep running game

San Francisco has three running backs who all contribute a considerable amount. Between Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, they always have someone fresh in the game. And they can do different things. What’s more, coach Kyle Shanahan insists on running the ball; he’s not getting away from it. So it’s coming.

Fortunately, two of the other three remaining teams in the Super Bowl field are challenged in terms of run defense. We’re talking about Kansas City and Green Bay (Sunday’s opponent). So they might be in good stead in that regard.

A relentless pass rush

The Niners are second in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate, according to metrics provided from those at Football Outsiders. They can really keep coming, and there are plenty of them. Aside from Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, they’ve got Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander and…. well, you get the picture. They’re going to be difficult to deal with for any quarterback. But we’ll tell you this – if Tennessee gets past Kansas City, they could be exploited, because their pass blocking hasn’t been good, regardless of which quarterback they’re using.

Here are the future odds……

On each individual team to win the Super Bowl, according to BetAnySports:

Kansas City Chiefs +125
San Francisco 49ers +175
Tennessee Titans +650
Green Bay Packers +785

So what’s going against the Niners?

Playoff experience, or lack of same

These Niners have not been to the playoffs as a group before. These other three remaining teams have. Since this is the playoffs, and sometimes things happen that you don’t necessarily expect, experience can be that “X” factor that sends things in one direction or the other.

Play-action a problem

Throughout the year, the Niners’ defense has shown some weakness in one particular area. And that is in defending play-action passes on the part of the opponent. They allowed a quarterback rating of 112.9 on such plays. But they did get out of the game against Minnesota without getting burned. Could the same thing happen against Green Bay? Remember that much of the Packers’ offense is built around play-action. That’s what Matt LeFleur brought with him all the way from his time coaching under Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s dad.

Garoppolo and the short stuff

Of all the starting NFL quarterbacks, only Drew Brees covers less yardage per throw (relative to the line of scrimmage) than Jimmy Garropolo. And that means the Niners have to get a lot of “yards after catch” from their receivers. If, say, Green Bay could do a really job limiting that, than they can exploit Jimmy G’s short-arming.

Hey – we report. YOU decide.

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