After a season filled with excitement, the NFL playoffs are upon us. In the NFC, the race is wide open. All six teams have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. With that being said, lets preview this weekends game in Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers Vs. San Francisco 49ers: This is going to be a battle of two hot teams. Green Bay comes into Lambau Field on Sunday having won three of their last four games. To make matters even better, Aaron Rodgers is back under center for the Packers. Despite a rough start, Rodgers showed he is back to his old self with his game winning drive against Chicago.
A weak spot for this Green Bay team is their defense. The Packers finished the year ranked 25th overall in both rushing yards allowed (125.0) and passing yards allowed (247.2). To make matters worse, Green Bay will be without their best defensive player, Linebacker Clay Matthews. However, this may not be a big issue in reality. Recently, teams who make deep playoff runs have had mediocre defenses. When the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI they did so with a 27th ranked defense. This isn’t an isolated incident. During their 2007 playoff run, the New England Patriots had the 31st ranked defense in the NFL. That team went 18-1, losing in the Super Bowl to the Giants.
The bigger issue for the Packers will be the fact that San Francisco is on fire. Winners of six in a row, the 49ers are back to full health now with the return of Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. With these two receivers back in the fold, Colin Kaepernicks play has improved dramatically. Over the win streak, the 49ers signal caller is averaging almost 250 yards per game and additional 40 on the ground. In addition, Kaepernick has looked a lot more confident in both aspects of his games, leading to a better flowing offense.
Possibly more important than that, is the fact that San Francisco has had a top three running game this year. In his first full year in quite some time, Frank Gore had one of his best years as a pro. Gore rushed for 1,128 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. He did suffer a knee injury on Sunday against the Cardinals, but he has practiced so far this week an should be all systems go for the game.
San Francisco and Green Bay met in week 1 and put on one of the most entertaining games of the year.
The same should be expected in this game. With the dynamic offenses that these teams possess, look for a copy of the week one matchup. This includes a 49ers win.
Final Score 49ers 31 Packers 27