Malik Taylor of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball as...

Malik Taylor of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball as Kris Boyd of the Minnesota Vikings defends during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Credit: Getty Images/Stacy Revere

GREEN BAY (5-2) AT SAN FRANCISCO (4-4)

TV: Ch. 5, NFL, 8:20 p.m.

Line: Green Bay by 6.5; O/U: 49.5

Thursday Night Football has long been my nemesis. So many variables — from the short week to injuries to trying to figure out a team's motivation level — have contributed to my struggles trying to predict the outcome.

This week's matchup is another tough one. San Francisco is a huge underdog at home because of injuries, injuries, injuries. The defending NFC champs have been hit hard, losing Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle during last week's loss at Seattle. So the 49ers won't have their starting quarterback, tight end, running back and one of their top receivers. There are even more injuries on offense and defense that make it just too many to overcome. On top of that, the team had to shut down its facility Wednesday because of a positive COVID-19 test. Kyle Shanahan is a creative play-caller but there's only so much you can do with backups.

Another reason to back the Pack: the revenge factor. The Packers played 18 games last season, including two in the playoffs. They won 14 of them. Two of the losses were at San Francisco, and neither was close: 37-8 in the regular season and 37-20 in the NFC title game. Expect Aaron Rodgers to feed off that payback angle by feeding Davante Adams early and often.

It also helps that the Packers (5-0 against the spread in their five wins this season) are coming off a home loss to the Vikings. As I always write, the one upside to playing on TNF is that if you played poorly on Sunday, you have to wait only a few days to regroup and change the narrative. Mr. Rodgers finally tells a happy story in San Francisco's neighborhood.

The pick: Green Bay

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