The Frozen Tundra Prevails
The Green Bay Packers are hosting another playoff game via the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. This time it will be for the NFC Divisional Championship against the San Francisco 49ers. Temperatures are expected to plummet, approaching single digits for game time. We saw very similar conditions in Buffalo last week, where Josh Allen and the Bills thrived against the struggling Patriots. Read below for additional detail on the forecast summary and how the Aaron Rodgers led offense will fare against Jimmy G and the 49ers.
Also be sure to check out the FFGWs in this interview with Spectrum News 1 Milwaukee to see more on how Rodgers and the Packers perform in the cold:
Weather and Player Impacts
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
Weather Rating: Caution
DK O/U: 47 pts
Time: Saturday, 8:15 pm ET
This is a very similar atmospheric setup as the one we experienced last weekend when the Bills hosted the Patriots. It has been a popular pattern this winter, with high pressure settling into areas north and east of the Great Lakes. As a result, a blast of Canadian cold air will funnel into the upper Midwest this weekend, bringing temps near single digits for the Saturday night divisional matchup in Green Bay. Expect temperature to hover around 10 F with winds out of the west at 10 mph. There is also a very low % chance of snow showers toward the tail end of the game.
In cold weather, we have seen QBs either thrive, or struggle. Last week alone we saw Josh Allen ravage the Patriots defense with ease, while Mac Jones struggled to get things going in the cold. This could be reminiscent of this week’s matchup between the 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the Packers Aaron Rodgers. We showed this graphic last week, but QB do show a history of underperforming in the cold compared to normal weather conditions on average.
This is apparent based on the shift of the green bars to the left (showing less fantasy points per game). We expect this relationship to better correlate with Jimmy Garoppolo, as his limited performances in the cold have resulted in sub-average numbers for the 49ers QB. Jimmy G is analogous to the Mac Jones of last week - we expect Garoppolo to struggle a bit out of the gate, with the 49ers focusing more on the run. However, his numbers may get padded as they play "catch-up" against the potent Packers offense down the stretch. DraftKings has Garoppolo at 232 passing yards, and we may be tempted to take the under if not for garbage time yards in the 4th.
Aaron Rodgers numbers in the cold are a different story. This doesn’t mean Rodgers plays better in the cold than normal, it just means he is able to take advantage of the defense in these conditions to sustain drives and score points. The 49ers passing defense has played better of late, allowing opposing QBs to just 189 yards on average over their last 3 matchups. They also did a good job of getting pressure on Dak and the Cowboys last week. But we have seen this narrative before, and Rodgers knows how to take advantage of and exploited defensive holes, especially in the cold. In 3 playoff matchups in extreme cold conditions (< 20F), Rodgers posted a 96 QBR, 261 YPG average, with 5 TDs and 2 INTS. These are actually down a bit compared to his playoff performance in more neutral weather ( in 20 games: 101 QBR / 284 YPG / 45 TDs / 13INTs). However, we still expect Rodgers to get the job done Saturday night and look to his #1 target in Davante Adams and come away with the win.
Aaron Rodgers career fantasy points in games with temperatures less than 15 F.
We expect the 49ers to try and establish the run initially, but might need to bail if they get down early to the Packers. Expect Eli Mitchell to be the main recipient of these carries and provide a solid baseline. We saw Mitchell get 26 carries against the Cowboys, so it would be no surprise to see 20+ touches against the Pack. However, it is also possible that Mitchell gets phased out if they need to lean more on the passing attack to play "catch-up".
We expect Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion to split the load against the 49ers. In the cold we do typically see an uptick in RB opportunities, and we expect the Packers to provide a balanced offensive attack using both the run and the pass. Expect both players to provide a solid floor with TD upside.
Limit expectations for the 49ers receiving core, as we don’t know how Garoppolo will fare playing in 10 F weather against a stout Green Bay defense. With that being said, Deebo Samuels is a must start . Deebo gives you a solid rushing floor as his carries seem to be consistent and efficient. Aiyuk has also come on late and is a great safety net for Garoppolo for dump-offs.
Without question you are playing Davante Adams in this matchup. Recently Adams stated that he dislikes playing in the cold, but knows the Packers have the advantage in these conditions. Impressively, Davante’s YPG (88) and YPR (13.1) increase in cold weather games. Adams also gives you the multiple TD upside, especially in the cold where Rodgers looks to Adams as his #1 trusted target in the Redzone.