The first week of the NFL season includes a playoff rematch from last season between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. The game will be played Friday night at Levi’s Stadium, with the 49ers favored by 2.5 points. The over/under for the game is set at 33 points.
The 49ers head into the 2022 season with rather modest expectations for a team that’s been to the NFC Championship Game twice in the last three seasons. Of course, San Francisco also had a 6-10 season squeezed in between those deep playoff runs.
The 49ers also finished third in the NFC West last year, so they’ll head into the preseason knowing that they have to improve up last year’s 10-7 regular-season record.
Meanwhile, the Packers enter 2022 in the heels of three consecutive 13-win seasons. Matt LaFleur has had the magic touch during the regular season, albeit with the Packers going 2-3 in the playoffs, including two losses to the 49ers. That could help fuel some of the motivation that LaFleur and the Packers have in Friday’s preseason opener.
Feeling the Love?
Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing on Friday, which means it’ll be Jordan Love orchestrating the Green Bay offense. Love has received some positive reviews during training camp, although he showed few signs of development in limited action last season, completing just 58% of his passes while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. The good news for Love is that Danny Etling is the only other quarterback on Green Bay’s roster, which should result in a healthy amount of playing time for Love.
The bad news for Love is that other key members of the Green Bay offense won’t be in action. Left tackle David Bakhtiari is out, as are wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson.
The Packers are also likely to limit the snaps for running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, meaning Green Bay will be reaching deep down the depth chart for running backs and wide receivers to play around Love.
Unlike the Packers, the 49ers will be giving their offensive starters at least one drive in the preseason opener. With Trey Lance taking over as the starting quarterback despite minimal experience last season, he should get more playing time than the average starting quarterback figures to get this week. Nate Sudfeld will also give San Francisco a veteran quarterback behind Lance to keep things running relatively smoothly during the second half of the game.
The 49ers also have a decent collection of running backs who should see plenty of the field in this game. Trey Sermon, a third-round pick last year, and Tyrion Davis-Price, a third-round pick this year, figure to see plenty of touches. The San Francisco defense also has some familiar names among the second and third-stringers, which also plays to their advantage.
Without Rodgers and a host of others, the Packers are at an inherent disadvantage in this game. Plus, when the available starters for both teams leave the game, the 49ers should have more overall depth. That should allow the 49ers to win and cover at least a field goal in Friday’s preseason opener.
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