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NFL Week 12: Bold predictions for epic Packers-49ers clash

Vincent Frank

Sunday night will feature Aaron Rodgers and his 8-2 Green Bay Packers heading to Northern California to take on the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

It’s one of the most highly-anticipated games on the NFL schedule. It also has wide-ranging playoff ramifications and should be a close affair on NBC with the 49ers as mere three-point home favorites.

A win here by San Francisco would pretty much eliminate another competitor for home-field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.

If the Packers were to come out on top, the possibility of said playoffs going through Lambeau Field would increase significantly.

It’s in this that we give young five bold predictions for the best game on the Week 12 NFL slate.

Aaron Jones rattles off 150-plus total yards

Boasting the best pass defense in the NFL and the second-best scoring defense in the league, there’s one Achilles heel for the 49ers. They have struggled stopping the run recently.

San Francisco is yielding an average of 141.3 rushing yards over the past three games. The questionable status of underrated defensive tackle D.J. Jones could also play a role here.

On the other hand, Jones has gone for just 122 total yards over the past two games. That comes after a four-game stretch in which he averaged nearly 140 total yards. Look for Jones to be back up his old tricks after getting a rest last week.

Each quarterback is sacked five-plus times

San Francisco heads into Week 12 ranked No. 2 in the NFL with 39 sacks through 10 games. Even with Dee Ford questionable to go in this one, we’re expecting them to put a lot of heat on Aaron Rodgers. Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have a combined 20 sacks on the season. Meanwhile, Rodgers has been taken down five-plus times twice this year.

On the other hand, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has only been sacked 19 times in 10 games. At issue here is another injury suffered by left tackle Joe Staley that puts his availability in question. Seven of those 19 sacks have come over the past two games. We’re expecting Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to have big games here.

Deebo Samuel goes for career high

The 49ers needed someone to step up once George Kittle went down to injury back in Week 9. While the record-setting tight end is questionable to go in this one, we expect this rookie receiver to continue doing his thing.

Samuel has recorded 16 receptions for 246 yards over the past two games. He leads NFL receivers in broken tackles (12) and yards after the catch (7.2).

None of this is a strong suit for a Packers defense that struggles tackling in the back end and has given up huge chunks of yards. Look for Samuel to go for 150-plus receiving yards Sunday night.

Go for the over

San Francisco ranks No. 2 in total defense and points allowed. The Packers come into this one having yielded the 28th-most yards and ranks in the middle of the pack in points allowed.

One might think that if this is an offensive-minded game, the 49ers would run away with it. We’re not too sure. San Francisco is already without Pro Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander for the season and might be missing both Dee Ford as well as D.J. Jones.

Look for the Packers to keep up with San Francisco in what will be a high-scoring affair that sees both quarterback tally 300-plus passing yards with multiple touchdowns. If you’re a betting person, definitely go with the over as the total currently stands at just 46.5.

Overtime, baby

Thought we were going to predict a winner here, right? Well, projecting either squad to come out on top would not be seen as a bold prediction.

Instead, we’re going to conclude that the 49ers head to overtime in their second consecutive nationally televised game. It will be just as dramatic as what we saw back in Week 10 against Seattle — leading to the possibility that this will be the game of the year.