When Packers’ President Mark Murphy and GM Brian Gutekunst announced Matt LaFleur as the next coach of the team, most fans were disappointed. Packer fans wanted a big name prospect hired, thank goodness the Packers’ leadership knew better. No one expected LaFleur to do as well as he has for a rookie coach, making the NFC Championship Game. Murphy and Gutekunst were looking for someone who could change the culture at 1265 Lombardi Ave. The Packers had become stale under the Thompson/McCarthy era. Just a winning season had become acceptable, with only hope for a deep playoff run or Super Bowl. Thompson constantly brought in players through the draft, who were then plugged into positions they had never played. That theory produced winning seasons but only one Super Bowl.
When LaFleur burst onto the Packers’ scene, he immediately changed that thinking. LaFleur said let’s establish a running game, a consistent passing game, mixed with explosive plays, a stiff defense and championships as goals. Gutekunst was one step ahead of LaFleur, signing several key Free Agents and quietly adding key pieces throughout the season. The defense became a force and solidified during the final five games. They improved communication, which Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine admitted had fallen apart in November. That unification has the Packers one game away from the Super Bowl!!
There are several keys to success Sunday Night for the Packers’ to win the Championship and represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV. Offensively the O-line may have to play their best game of the year. San Francisco’s defensive front is huge and extremely fast. NO turnovers, an edge in the TOP and establish a run game are a must for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers needs to focus on what the 49ers will give him. I’d like to see Aaron’s stat line look like 25-30, 255 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs. The 49er defensive backfield has some holes, especially CB Witherspoon. On Offense the 49ers weakness is actually QB Garoppolo. His lack of experience in championship games, will cause him to have a few errant passes. Packers defense will need to bring pressure early and often to keep Garoppolo on his heels. Kenny Clark, ZaDarius and Preston Smith will be the combination to apply this pressure.
The previous game played between these teams in November means absolutely nothing. These are two completely different teams, especially the Packers. Matt LaFleur and Mike Pettine have some surprises for the 49ers, that I will guarantee! As for a prediction, I am already on record having the Packers win 26-24. Mason Crosby will kick a walk off FG with no time remaining.
As Always, Go Pack Go!!
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter