Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, Sept 8th @ Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Ca.
Kickoff: 1:25pm PT (3:25PM CT/4:25pm ET)
TV: Fox Network
Local: KTVU 2 San Francisco/KTXL 40 Sacramento
Away: WLUK 11 Green Bay/WITI 6 Milwaukee
The Matchup: The 49ers in 2012 for the first time in memory beat the Green Bay Packers twice in the same season. The 49ers won the 2012 season opener at Lambeau Field 30-22, and later defeated the Packers in the NFC Playoffs at Candlestick in January 45-24. In the first game, the 49ers were quarterbacked by then starting QB Alex Smith. The 49ers offense seemed to be able to move the ball at will on offense and frustrated the Packers defense all day long. In January, after an early turnover over that resulted in a Green Bay touchdown, the 49ers now quarterbacked by Colin Kaepernick got the bearings about them and would come back from an early deficit to eventually take total control of the game in the second half. This season the NFL schedule maker saw it fit to have the same two teams meet again in the season opener, this time in San Francisco. Prior to last season, the Packers seemingly owned the 49ers having won 12 of the last 13 meetings including post season at either venue.
The 49ers come in to this game looking to resume a quest for the franchises sixth Super Bowl title which just two years ago seemed somewhat unlikely in this generation. The 49ers have marked the start of the 2013 season on their calendar since last February when they came up short in Super Bowl 47. Green Bay is going to prove to be a very tough test for the 49ers right out of the start blocks. The Packers are a loaded team that are very fast off the snap of the football with play makers both on offense and defense. Aaron Rogers comes into this season looking to keep the Packers not only on top of the NFC North Division, but also looking to put Green Bay back on top in the NFC overall.
On offense, the Packers will turn to rookie running back Eddie Lacy to lead the ground game. Lacy, fresh off an Alabama team that won last years NCAA title knows a thing or two about winning and being an effective running back. He has a combination of speed and strength that will make him a full time go to player for the Packers. Green Bay will also turn to James Starks, Johnathan Franklin, and fullback John Kuhn to pound the football against Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman & Company. In the air Rogers has a corps of receivers that can open the field up and create all sorts of play options. Jordy Nelson, Jeremy Ross, and San Jose State alum James Jones are Rogers main targets in helping Green Bay spread the field. Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin are two more options for Rogers. Mason Crosby will be the Packers option should they be in a situation where they decide to try for a field goal.
The 49ers defense just as they did in January will have their hands full and need to find a way to get to Rogers early on and put the Packers QB in a position where he may have to throw early. If the 49ers can effectively blitz and limit the Packers' ground game, they can force Rogers to change his approach. Rogers and the Green Bay receiving units will face challenges from Carlos Rogers, Tarrell Brown, Tramaine Brock and Nnamdi Asomugha. Rookie Eric Reid will make his 49ers debut on the first team defense.
The 49ers will present just as many challenges offensively for the Green Bay defense as the Packers offense will for the 49ers defense. Kaepernick and the 49ers are a very confident group and have handled the Packers before in a high stakes stage. Look for Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter to lead the 49ers ground attack. Both players are healthy and are coming off of good preseasons. They will be the keys to help the 49ers to establish an early ground game that can set the passing game up in good position. Kapernick if given adequate time to throw will have several options ranging from Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, to newcomer Quinton Patton who is going be a big asset to the 49ers over time. The 49ers will miss Michael Crabtree and LaMichael James who are out with injuries. As much firepower as the 49ers have, they will also have the challenge of beating a tough Packers defense lead by Clay Matthews Jr, AJ Hawk, BJ Raji and Company. The Packers defense will try to pressure Kaepernick early and often. If they are able to shut down Kaepernick, it could be a tough day for the 49ers. The Packers know that if they fail to contain Kaepernick, they'll be the ones having the tough day.
Kingshark Line Prediction- To me the 49ers offensively are the deeper of the two teams. The Packers offense is very good, but the 49ers just have more firepower per se. Kaepernick is a very confident QB with the football and knows how to spread it as well as anyone. Rogers is the more experience QB and has already been to places Kaepernick has not ventured to...at least not yet. The 49ers have more fire power not only on offense, but also have a stronger defensive unit to match. This will be a good one to watch. 49ers 34 Packers 27.