Alright Packer Nation! We are days away from the Packers biggest game of the year, the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.
These teams have previously met 7 times in the playoffs. They also played earlier this year with the 49ers winning, a game we will forget about. This game will be completely different than the one we saw earlier. There are plenty connections between the two teams, from the 49ers snubbing Aaron Rodgers, Matt Lafleur’s bother on the 49ers coaching staff, to John Lynch being named executive of the year over Brian Gutekunst. This game should be a classic.
- Time: 5:40pm in San Francisco at Levi Stadium
- TV: Will be televised on FOX with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth and Erin Andrews and Chris Myers on the sidelines.
- Series: Packers lead the all-time series 36-30-1
- Last meeting: San Francisco beat Green Bay 37 – 8 in San Francisco during the regular season.
- Line: Currently 49ers by 7 1/2
For me, I think this game will be a very close, hard fought game. I don’t think it will be a blow-out like their last meeting. There are several things that do stick out to me in this game. Here are my 3 keys to the game.
In their meeting earlier this year, Aaron Jones ran the ball 13 times for 38 yards with his longest run being 11 yards. He was also targeted 1 time in the passing game. On the flip side, Jamaal Williams ran the ball 11 times for 45 yards and had 7 receptions on 8 targets in the passing game for 35 yards. The team was without offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga the first time and he will be playing this time. For me, Jones is one of their top offensive weapons and they need to keep him involved in the offensive for them to come away victorious on Sunday. I think his performance will be key.
In the first match-up, Green Bay got burned by the tight end. Kittle had 6 receptions, 129 yards and a touchdown. The Packers have had trouble covering the tight end since of the days of LeRoy Butler and then Nick Collins. Mike Pettine needs to scheme his defense to stop Kittle from having a huge day. This is the biggest tight end challenge that the Packers have faced. Kittle has wide receiver speed and is more than a willing blocker in the passing game.
49ers run game vs the Packers run defense
Recently, the Packers defense has done a good job at stopping the run. Overall this season, they are ranked 23rd in the league against the run. The 49ers rank number in the league in rushing offense. In the divisional round against the Vikings, the 49ers ran the ball 47 times for 186 yards. Controlling the clock and keeping the chains moving. The Packers defense will need to get really physical and stop the run to have success.
The Packers have the tools to beat San Francisco. They have been improving week after week and last week was probably their most complete game of the season. This will be a close game, but the Packers can make it to Miami.
Go Pack Go!!
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag