The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers meet tomorrow night with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line. This years Packers are under extreme pressure to finally win a championship after two straight losses one game short of the Super Bowl. The 49ers are a formidable foe as the first step in that process. At least the game is in Lambeau where the Packers went 8-0 this year.
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams declared this season the Last Dance. Couple that with the Packers current salary cap position, and a partial rebuild may be in order after this year. Even if the Packers win a Super Bowl and are able to resign Adams and rework Rodgers’ deal, a lot of guys are going to have to be cut to make room. If the Packers once again fail to win the Super Bowl or even get to it, even bigger changes could be made. Otherwise known as the Jordan Love era begins. So there is a lot riding on this years playoffs for the Packers.
Game will be won on the ground
The 49ers scare the hell out of me. The last time I saw the Packers’ defense play for real the Cleveland Browns had their way with them, rushing for over 200 yards and controlling the game. The Browns averaged almost eight yards a carry that game. With any kind of quarterback play they would have won going away. The 49ers average 190 yards on the ground in the playoffs under Kyle Shanahan and had 285 against the Packers two years ago. If the Packers defense can’t slow the 49ers ground game it will be a long night for the Packers.
The Packers should be able to move the ball against the 49ers’ defense. I think they will be able to slow down the 49ers pass rush with the quick-release passing game they have developed this year. The ball is coming out of Rodgers’ hand faster than ever. And having Randall Cobb back will help. It sucks that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is doubtful to play. With MVS the Packers usually score 30 points. Without him they don’t.
I think it will help to get Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, Whitney Mercilus, and Josh Myers back. Possibly even David Bakhtiari. I would assume Jaire would play pretty much the whole game at his position. But I would expect spot duty for Smith and Mercilus. Meyers is a big, big man, and having him back at center will certainly help against a solid defensive line like the 49ers.
My biggest concern is oddly enough, Aaron Rodgers. The soon to be four-time MVP is a different player in the playoffs. He throws a lot of picks and can’t lift his team to victory like Tom Brady does. For some reason I think this year’s disappointment will come a week early. In a game that will throw the franchise into disarray, I think the 49ers win 23-20.