NFL betting: The 49ers are about to run wild on Green Bay

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Saturday's matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers carries the biggest spread in the divisional round, with the Packers as 5.5-point home favorites on BetMGM, but it's probably the most exciting game on the weekend slate, outside of Bills-Chiefs. Not only do I believe the Niners will cover this one — I believe they'll win it outright. Here's why:

The magnificent seven

San Francisco's front seven is, to borrow a Charlie Sheen term from 11 years ago, winning. Whether it's tiger blood or natural God-given talent operating within a swarming defensive scheme, these dudes are getting to the ball like a bunch of jacked Cinderellas. Over the last three games, no team has given up fewer yards per carry than the Niners (3.0), who rank seventh on the year (4.0). They blitz at the fourth-lowest percentage (19.8%), yet they own the third-highest sack percentage (8.1%). Getting this kind of pressure on the quarterback by sending just four men allows the linebackers to drop into coverage, which has led to San Francisco giving up the sixth-fewest passing yards per game (207.8). Defensive end Nick Bosa is currently in the concussion protocol and listed as questionable, but is expected to play, as is Fred Warner. The linebacker is half of the best linebacking duo in the league with Dre Greenlaw and sustained an ankle injury in the Niners' 23-17 win over the Cowboys. San Francisco's defense surrenders just 309.8 yards per game, third-best in the NFL. If anyone can slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, it's this unit.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel is averaging 6.3 yards per carry this season. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel is averaging 6.3 yards per carry this season. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

The run game

The Niners are averaging nearly 160 rushing yards per game over their last three outings. Since Kyle Shanahan began deploying receiver Deebo Samuel as a backfield weapon, San Francisco has been virtually unstoppable, winning eight of the nine games he's played in. Samuel boasts an insane 6.3 yards per carry, thanks to an understanding and exploitation of angles that would make a Geometry professor green with envy. Teammate Elijah Mitchell ranked 10th out of all NFL running backs this season with 4.7 ypc. Coincidentally, Green Bay's defense gives up 4.7 ypc, second-worst in the league. Since their bye week, the Packers are getting gashed for 5.6 ypc. Like most paths that exist, San Francisco's path to winning this game is on the ground. Fortunately for the Niners, it's wide enough to drive a semi-truck through.

Past performance may be indicative of future results

These two teams are quite similar to the pair that took the field in the 2019 NFC championship. San Francisco jumped out to a 27-0 lead and won that game, 37-20, rushing for 285 yards on 6.8 ypc. When they met in Week 3 of this season, the Niners were without several key players, including Mitchell, and had not yet started using Samuel regularly in the backfield. Green Bay emerged victorious on a 51-yard field goal as time expired. San Francisco has improved drastically since that game and its devastating rushing attack and pass rush are looking more like the 2019 NFC champ Niners.

Stats provided by Pro Football Reference and teamrankings.com.

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