The Green Bay Packers return to Candlestick Park for a playoff game once again and once again it has the makings of a classic game. Two dynamic quarterbacks, two balanced offenses and two good defenses. What more can you ask for?
While most eyes will be on Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick, the game could very well come down to a unknown player like DuJuan Harris or Kendall Hunter. Considering how well both team’s offenses are playing I think scoring will be prevalent, which in a way makes defense all that more important. It could be like the Packers-Vikings game two weeks that was basically decided on the one turnover by the Packers.
For the Packers to win they have to force Kaepernick into a turnover or two. He is a young QB in his first playoff game, but he is playing like a veteran. Only against the Seahawks in Seattle did he look rattled, and that came a week after he riddled the New England Patriots in New England.
On offense the Packers are a totally different team than that one that broke camp in a funk last September. It took half the season or better for the Packers to find their identity on offense due to injuries to the running back and offensive line positions, but the last five weeks the Packers have been as balanced as they may have ever been in the Mike McCarthy pass-happy offense.
Harris has taken over the running back role and the return of wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are starting to pay dividends. Harris has been the biggest beneficiary with open running lanes and the new wrinkle - the checkdown. If the Packers can use that again this week to keep the pressure off Rodgers, the offense will be hard to stop.
I have no gut feeling yet other than my previous thought that this one would be easier than the Vikings game. That certainly isn’t going to be the case after the Ponder-less Vikings offered no challenge at all to the Packers.
I am not worried about the Packers’ offense the last 25 minutes of that game as it was all over once the Packers took a 24-3 lead. No sense showing the 49ers anything. Same thing on defense, if they get an excuse me TD against a vanilla defense then so be it.
Brett Favre had his real breakout game at Candlestick when the Packers knocked the defending champion 49ers out of the playoffs in 1995. Back then it was head coach Mike Holmgren’s homecoming. Now Aaron Rodgers returns home for the first time with a chance to carry the Packers to the NFC Championship game. Going to be a good one.
Prediction coming later. Confidence is high.