Niners the pick at Lambeau Field

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 1, 2014 at 12:57 pm •  Published: January 1, 2014
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There's only one road favorite for this weekend's wild-card games, and it's the team that lost — barely — in last February's Super Bowl. That the San Francisco 49ers are favored at Lambeau Field might be shocking to some. It shouldn't be.

The 49ers (No. 3, AP Pro32) are 2 1-2-point choices over the Packers (No. 11, AP Pro32) and, frankly, it's surprising the spread isn't higher. Obviously, the oddsmakers put plenty of stock in Aaron Rodgers being back behind center for Green Bay on Sunday.

But if they are also counting on Lambeau being a decidedly strong venue for the Packers, they shouldn't. Green Bay (8-7-1) was 4-3-1 at home and lost to the best teams it faced there, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Plus, the Niners (12-4) are one of the strongest wild-card teams in recent NFL history. They have no fear of going on the road, where they were 6-2.

And they beat Green Bay at Candlestick Park to start the season.

"Green Bay is a completely different team than the team we saw in Week 1, as we are," wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "For us, we would like to carry that momentum. We are in a six-game winning streak."

Make it seven.

BEST BET:, 49ERS 37-27

No. 7 New Orleans (plus 2 1-2) at No. 10 Philadelphia, Saturday

Now for an entirely different scenario: New Orleans is one of the league's most uncomfortable road teams.

The Saints (11-5) were perfect at home, but things were difficult away from the Big Easy, where they were 3-5. Those shortcomings were especially on display against playoff-quality opponents Seattle, New England and Carolina, although only the loss to the Seahawks was a rout.

What the Saints have going for them is experience. What the Eagles (10-6) have going for them are the positive vibes from a turnaround season under new coach Chip Kelly.

But look for Philly to have just enough of a case of nerves for Drew Brees and company to win in a shootout.

UPSET SPECIAL: SAINTS, 37-33

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