What a brilliant idea: The defending NFC champion 49ers hosting the team they vanquished in January to get to the Super Bowl, the Packers.
In prime time. On a Thursday night.
The 49ers (4-4) are wrecked by injuries, the latest sidelining their best offensive player, tight end George Kittle, and their quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. What they present against a Packers team coming off a weak performance against underachieving Minnesota isn’t exactly spotlight material.
Other injured 49ers include receiver Deebo Samuel, cornerback Richard Sherman, pass rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and running backs Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jeff Wilson Jr.
“By no means do you ever want this,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “You want all your guys and you want to be going as good as you can. But you have to embrace everything. You’ve got to embrace the quick turnaround with Thursday night football. You’ve got to embrace injuries. You’ve got to embrace everything. The game’s too hard that if you go in thinking any other way, I mean, then you give yourself no chance.”
Green Bay (5-2), meanwhile, travels west without two running backs, A.J. Dillon and Jamaal Williams, after Dillon’s positive coronavirus test, and likely missing Aaron Jones, the No. 1 RB.
Green Bay, ranked seventh in the AP Pro32, is a 5-point favorite at beleaguered No. 17 San Francisco. We’ll stick with Aaron Rodgers to be the difference maker.
KNOCKOUT POOL: The Chiefs came through against the Jets — was there ever any doubt on that one? Let’s go with PITTSBURGH.
No. 1 Pittsburgh (minus 13 1-2) at No. 30 Dallas
The unbeaten Steelers are emulating the Steel Curtain years. The Cowboys are beaten-up and lost.
BEST BET: STEELERS, 31-13
No. 29 New York Giants (plus 3) at No. 27 Washington
Two teams that can only win within the weak NFC East.
UPSET SPECIAL: GIANTS, 19-17
No. 6 New Orleans (plus 5 1-2) at No. 4 Tampa Bay
Too big a spread in Brees versus Brady, a fitting prime-time matchup.
No. 3 Seattle (minus 2) at No. 8 Buffalo
The past month has not looked great for the Bills, despite their solid AFC East lead.
No. 28 Houston (minus 6½) at No. 31 Jacksonville
A true sign of how much the Jaguars are struggling is this line.
No. 21 New England (minus 7) at No. 32 New York Jets, Monday night
Even during the Patriots’ plummet, they can handle these Jets.
No. 14 Chicago (plus 5 1-2) at No. 9 Tennessee
Time for the Titans to turn things back around. The Bears could say the same.
No. 5 Baltimore (minus 2 1-2) at No. 11 Indianapolis
A prove-it game for the Colts, or a rebound game for the Ravens?
No. 15 Miami (plus 4) at No. 10 Arizona
The rested Cardinals against the revitalized Dolphins: Kyler versus Tua.
No. 20 Carolina (plus 10) at No. 2 Kansas City
Pro Picks will keep riding Reid, Mahomes and company.
No. 19 Denver (plus 4) at No. 26 Atlanta
The Broncos come off that Mile High, uh, high after stunning the Chargers.
No. 23 Detroit (plus 4) at No. 22 Minnesota
Can Dalvin Cook account for 300 yards this week? Possibly.
No. 13 Las Vegas (plus 2 1-2) at No. 25 Los Angeles Chargers
At some point, the Chargers will hold on in a close game. Maybe this one …
Last Week: Straight up: 9-5. Against spread: 8-6
Season: Straight up: 78-40-1. Against spread: 64-50-2
Best Bet: Straight up: 7-1. Against spread: 6-2
Upset Special: Straight up: 3-5. Against spread: 3-4-1
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