Bold Predictions for the Packers vs. 49ers NFC Championship

Jimmy Garoppolo
Will San Francisco take care of business at home? | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In a redux of their Week 12 meeting, the Packers will travel to Santa Clara to square up with the 49ers for the NFC title belt. San Francisco thoroughly dominated the Packers back in November, but both teams looked good in their divisional round victories. The biggest matchups include Aaron Rodgers vs. Jimmy Garoppolo, of course, but both defensive lines are top-five units statistically this season, and a trip to the Super Bowl may very well be decided in the trenches. Here are The Big Lead's boldest predictions for the NFC Championship Game featuring the top two seeds in the conference.

Aaron Rodgers Throws Three Touchdowns

The 49ers had the best pass defense in the NFL this season, giving up just 169.2 yards per game and 23 TDs total. In the regular season against the Packers, they held Rodgers to 104 yards and 1 TD. This season, Rodgers has only thrown three or more touchdowns three times and hasn't done so since Dec. 1. Of course, that set up seems to be pointing in the opposite direction of my prediction. However, the Packers offense seemed to finally click against the Seahawks and I believe Rodgers feels comfortable and confident heading into this rematch with a chance at redemption. - Brian Giuffra

Jimmy Garoppolo Will Be Held Without a Passing Touchdown

This is bold and reckless, but that's the direction I see things going. Jimmy G has only thrown 3 touchdowns in his last four games, including getting shutout against the Seahawks in Week 17. The Redskins and Rams also held him without a passing touchdown so clearly it can happen. All three of those games were on the road, so he is more successful at home. But the Packers defense can get after the passer (5 sacks against Seattle) and I believe they will do enough to keep Garoppolo from scoring through the air. - Giuffra

Aaron Jones Has a Big Day, But as a Receiver

Aaron Jones is the main back for the Packers' rushing attack, while they favor using Jamal Williams as a passing-down back thanks to his stellar pass protection and shifty route-running. But this Niners defense isn't going to let Green Bay get anything going on the ground, and Jones can make a big impact as a receiver (see: 159 yards through the air vs. Kansas City in Week 8). He's going to toast this San Francisco linebacker core and end up with over 100 yards receiving with two touchdowns on anything from screen passes to sluggos down the sideline, while being kept to less than 80 yards on the ground. -- Liam McKeone

Nick Bosa Will Be Nowhere to Be Seen

When the Niners first battled with the Packers in Week 12, their defensive line terrorized Aaron Rodgers, and rookie Nick Bosa played a large part, racking up two sacks back in November. Bosa didn't exhibit any playoff nerves in his professional postseason debut last week, sacking Kirk Cousins twice and hitting him three additional times, along with two tackles for loss in a continuation of his outstanding season. But he's going to disappear this week when going up against All-Pro left tackle David Bahktiari, who has all week and hours of tape from their last meeting to outsmart the rook. Bosa will finish with no sacks, only two QB hits, and no TFL-- something that happened three times during the regular season. To quote G-Eazy, "Lord forgive me, I'm talking reckless." -- McKeone

Tyler Ervin Will Be a Focal Point in the Packers' Offense

The late addition to the Packers' roster had a couple carries on gadget plays in Green Bay's win over Seattle on Sunday. With Richard Sherman draped on Davante Adams, the Packers will need to scheme creatively to move the ball -- Adams ain't going for 160 yards receiving with yards of separation at a time on Sherman like he did to the Seahawks defensive backs. Ervin will have several touches on misdirection runs and passes. - Ryan Glasspiegel

Jamaal Williams is the Most Productive Packers Running Back

This is extremely bold, I know. But I expect the Packers to dial up some screens against a ferocious defensive line and Williams is nowhere near the threat Aaron Jones is as a receiver. That's what makes going against tendency so appealing. Throw in a goal-line plunge or two and we're looking at a big day on the stat sheet and daily fantasy scoreboards. - Kyle Koster

There Will Be at Least Six Field Goals

The Packers struggled mightily to find the end zone the first go-around and this feels like it could end up being a rock fight. Get amped for a 15-12 final, folks. - Koster

It Will Be an Incredibly Boring Game

While we got fireworks all weekend during the Divisional Round, the NFC title game will be a snoozefest. Let's face it, neither of these teams play exciting football right now. The 49ers systematically beat teams down with defense and the running game and the Packers aren't lighting it up through the air anymore. Meanwhile, the atmosphere at Levi's Stadium is more befitting a mausoleum than a big-time sporting event. This will be a grind-it-out game where the team that stops the run will have a tremendous advantage and likely earn the win. - Ryan Phillips