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Week 1 NFL Pick
John J. Raspanti
The Packers host the 49ers in a week 1 NFL matchup between two of the best the NFL had to offer last year. The Packers are a -5 point favorite at the largest sportsbook in the world, sportsbook.ag, with a total of 47.
Nine months ago the 49ers and Packers were on a beeline to meet in the NFC championship game.
Unfortunately, the best game plans often go for naught. The New York Giants came to Green Bay and smoked the Packers 37-20, and then traveled to San Francisco and upended the error prone 49ers 20-17. The Packers defense was their Achilles heal last season. In April, they used their first six draft picks on defensive players. USC alumni Nick Perry will be starting at outside linebacker. Casey Hayward looks to have the inside track as left cornerback. Jerel Worthy is pushing for a start at defensive end. Veteran leaders Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson will lead by example.
The Packers could learn how to play defense by watching the 4th ranked 49ers. Linebacker Novorro Bowman led the team with 143 tackles. Super stud Patrick Willis is back patrolling the middle - while the Smith boys, Justin and Aldon will look to surpass their combined 21 sacks. The unit will miss linebacker Parys Haralson who is out for the season with an apparent arm injury.
The Packer offense, ranked 3rd last year, is loaded and ready to go off. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw 45 touchdown passes and completed 68 percent of his throws. Rodgers favorite target is Jordy Nelson. The 5th year pro caught 68 passes last year and scored 15 touchdowns. With the release of running back Ryan Grant, and preseason injury to James Starks, new acquisition Cedric Benson steps in as a starter. Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards last year as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Alex Smith will be under center for the 49ers after an outstanding and to many, improbable 2011 season. Smith connected on 61 percent of his passes last year, with 17 touchdowns. Smith, 28, will have 35-year-old Randy Moss as a target this year. Moss didn't play a down last year, but looked good in the preseason. Running back Frank Gore gained over 1,200 yards on the ground last year. His wear and tear is a concern. The Niners picked up bruising Brandon Jacobs from the Giants. His status is questionable due to a nagging knee injury.
Bettorsworld Bottom Line - The 49ers defense was a pleasure to watch last year. Some fans like offensive shootouts. To me, there's nothing better than a football game where points are at a premium. They have every single member of that defense back this year so there's no reason not to see a repeat performance, which will make the 49ers one of the best in the NFL against this year. Not that the Packers won't be as well.
NFL Lines have been on the board since April. It was possible to get +7 back then. At +7, this would no doubt be a Key Release. But we won't be seeing a +7 on this game at this point. At the current number of +5, this becomes an opinion only. We'll side with a very good defense over a very good offense here. We'll also lean towards the under 47.
49ers +5 and Under 47
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