Posted on January 12, 2020, by Travis Pulver
Heading into the divisional round weekend, the odds of winning the Super Bowl were already pretty good for the San Francisco 49ers. But after beating the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 in their game Saturday, their odds were bound to see a boost. However, what really made a difference was what happened next.
The No. 6 seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans pulled off an incredible upset and took down Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
During the regular season, the 49ers had played well against the Ravens but ultimately lost. So, when the weekend started, the Ravens were the clear-cut favorite and the 49ers a team with a shot. The game they played against the Vikings was just the kind they would have needed to play against the Ravens—run, run, and run some more.
San Francisco ran the ball 47 times for a total of 186 yards with Tevin Coleman surprisingly carrying the load. After getting 22 carries in all of December, he led the way Saturday with 22 for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Coleman made a point of giving his offensive line credit after the game, via ESPN:
“Those guys did very well. They moved the guys back, so I had clear holes to run through. So, yeah, they did a real good job.”
Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have much of a day completing just 11 of 19 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. But with how well the defense was playing against Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook, he didn’t need to.
While Cousins completed a respectable percentage of his passes (he was 21 of 29), his receivers were often tackled immediately (hence, only 172 yards). Dalvin Cook struggled to find room to run as well, gaining just 18 yards on nine carries.
Tight end George Kittle was happy to talk about his team’s defense after the game, via ESPN:
“They’re pretty good, right? It’s such a blast just to watch them, how they work together. …If our defense keeps playing like that, all we have to do is not turn the ball over to win games.”
Seattle and Green Bay face off Sunday night to see who will play the 49ers in the NFC title game for a shot at going to the Super Bowl. They destroyed the Packers during the regular season, 37-8. But they split their regular-season series with the Seahawks losing earlier in the year 27-24 and winning the regular-season finale 26-21.
Prior to Sunday’s Green Bay-Seattle game, the 49ers are favored to win the NFC Championship at DraftKings (-250). But their Super Bowl odds were taken down once the Houston-Kansas City game started, but they had the 49ers as the new favorite at +175.
Both teams do not have particularly strong run defenses, which bodes well for the 49ers offense. But Green Bay does have a strong run game with Aaron Jones. While the Seahawks do not have a run game anymore, Russell Wilson got within inches of beating the 49ers in the regular-season finale anyway.
So, while the odds may favor the 49ers, that doesn’t mean they are a good bet.