The San Francisco 49ers have had their way with the Green Bay Packers in the last three meetings over two seasons. Sunday at a frigid Lambeau Field, the Packers will try to put that losing streak behind them and advance to the divisional playoffs the following week.
The 49ers are one of the hotter teams in the league coming in, having won their last six games. The Packers win streak is just 1, a 33-28 win over the Chicago Bears, under the direction of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who returned to the lineup after a 7+ week layoff.
Frank Gore posted his seventh 1,000-yard season in nine NFL seasons, gaining 1,128 yards on the ground for the 49ers. It’ll be the Packers top priority to stop him.
The Packers held Gore to 2.1 yards per carry in the opener, a San Francisco victory at Candlestick Park. Since then, the Packers have struggled to stop the run, allowing 4.6 yards per carry during the final 10 weeks of the season and ranking 25th in the league in rush defense at season’s end.
This is a huge game for Green Bay’s defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Whether he returns to Green Bay next season could greatly depend on how well the defense plays in this game.
Offensively, the Packers not only have Aaron Rodgers back, but wide receiver Randall Cobb as well. Cobb caught the game winning touchdown pass from Rodgers in last week’s win over the Bears. Despite having just 2 catches for 55 yards, he poses a real threat from the slot on Sunday. He opens things up on the outside for Jordy Nelson and James Jones as well.
The Packers have struggled on special teams, especially on kickoff returns, which will need to change if the Packers have a chance to win Sunday and advance in the playoffs.
Weather will certainly be a factor in this game. Temperatures at kickoff will be around 5-below with the thermometer to dip even further throughout the game.
The following video has my thoughts on Sunday’s game.