San Francisco 49ers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 9/4:25 pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field/Green Bay, WI
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: San Francisco +5/Green Bay -5
Over/Under Total: 47
Finally…After a month of unwatchable and downright awful preseason action, the NFL is ready to kickoff the 2012 season for real and the best matchup on the week one slate has the San Francisco 49ers traveling to Ashwaubenon to take on the Green Bay Packers. There you go, Green Bay doesn’t even play in Green Bay and now you have a trivia answer that you probably didn’t have before. Getting back to business, most think we are looking at potential preview of the NFC Championship game as both the Niners and Packers have the look of championship contenders. It is quite the contrast in styles though as San Fran relies on its stout defense to win games while Green Bay is one the premier offensive teams in the league, especially through the air.
The offshore betting sites like Green Bay and installed the Pack as 6-point favorites although the line has moved more commonly to 5 as of Wednesday. San Francisco is on the money line at +190 with Green Bay at -230 and the over/under total for the game hovers at 46 or 47.
The Niners are looking to take that last step forward from a 2011 season that ended with a 13-3 regular season mark and a very close 20-17 loss to the eventual Superbowl Champion New York Giants. The front office flirted with Peyton Manning in the offseason but that never came to substance and Alex Smith is back at the helm. Smith probably can’t feel too great about his bosses looking to replace him after his best season to date but they did get him some help through the draft and free agency. Mario Manningham and Randy Moss add veteran playmaking ability to the WR group and A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James were drafted to add pressure and stretch opposing defenses. If Moss can find some sort of form like he displayed with the Patriots, he could take plenty of coverage from Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis and the Niners could have a much improved offense that already features a strong running game led by Frank Gore.
Green Bay needed no additional help scoring points and chose to shore up their defense in the offseason after they were downed by the Giants in the Divisional round by a 37-20 margin. The Pack stormed to a 15-1 mark, losing only at Kansas City, and is motivated to get back to the Superbowl after suffering what was ultimately a disappointing season. Casey Hayward, Jerel Worthy and Nick Perry were all high round draft picks and all should see significant time this year in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense. Rookies take time to produce on most occasions so look for Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and B.J. Raji to shoulder most of the load in the early going. Jeff Saturday was Green Bay’s big free agent signing and the veteran center now has the privilege of guarding today’s best signal caller in Aaron Rodgers after snapping it to Peyton Manning for all those seasons. Cedric Benson was added late in camp and grabbed the starting running back spot although no one is really expecting the Packers to turn into a run first team with guys like Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and JerMichael Finley to throw to.
A five or six point line in 2011 would be a near slam dunk for the Packers at home as last year’s Niner offense just didn’t have the gas to keep up with what was one of the best scoring offenses in NFL history. With improvements at the skill positions for San Francisco and a still underwhelming Green Bay defense, this one has the makings of great game that could turn into a bit of a shootout.
Green Bay’s offensive line did not look great in the preseason and Rodgers was on the run early and often so getting to the quarterback should be a focal point for the Niners. The problem there is that there are too many good receivers to cover and Rodgers is too good of a scrambler to not make you pay for sending extra rushers. With that being said, I feel that this will be a very close game. Since 3 and 4 point margins makeup a large percentage of NFL final scores, you have to take the points here. I do believe GB gets the win, but SF gets the money. Good luck!
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: San Francisco 49ers +5.
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