This is the playoff matchup that many were expecting last year in the playoffs. However, the New York Giants played spoilers, so the dream matchup of the unstoppable Packer offense and the vaunted 49ers defense was not to be. Well, until now. Let’s dive into this game full of interesting points.
How the Packers Can Win: I had the Packers pegged as my favorites in the NFC to start the season, and while their position at the top of the mountain may have wavered, they were still always in the discussion. Now, they face a tough road test in San Francisco, and like last week, the defense is the key for me. The offense shouldn’t struggle, even though they did when these two teams met to open the season. The defense will have to contain the young, mobile 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. Last week, the defense got a gift when Christian Ponder was declared inactive, serving backup quarterback Joe Webb on a silver platter. While Kaepernick has no playoff experience, he has played a ton of games to end the season, and is much more of a threat then Webb or Ponder could be.
How the 49ers Can Win: Is there a more confusing team coming into these playoffs then the 49ers? Three weeks ago, the 49ers were blowing out the Patriots 31-3, before giving up the lead, only to get it back and get the win 41-34. The following week, they were absolutely annihilated by the Seahawks. They end the season with a less then impressive win over hapless Arizona, and I don’t know what to make of these guys. Kaepernick was brought in to make plays and score points, and he hasn’t been able to do that consistently. If the Packers offense can get things rolling, the Niners defense will have to press to keep up, and that could force Kap into making some mistakes.
Our Prediction: This is a tough one for me. I can honestly seeing it go many ways, from a Packers blowout, to a close Niners win, and everything outside and in between. For my money, the Packers are still the team to beat in the NFC, assuming their defense can keep up the production from last week. When their offense is clicking, it’s hard for anyone to contend with them, as we saw in their playoff run of a couple years ago. On the flip side, the Niners defense will be looking to get the same level of effectiveness they got in the season opener, a win in Green Bay. However, I’m not sure if they can do that. Lastly, what will happen if Kaepernick stumbles out of the gates, and San Fran digs themsevles an early hole? Will Jim Harbaugh pull the youngster and put in Alex Smith? That will be interesting. Push comes to shove, I’m going with Green Bay. Packers win 27-21.
What do you guys think will happen? Will Aaron Rodgers get the Packers back to the NFC Championship? Or will the Niners be one game from the super bowl for the second straight year? Let us know in the comments!