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49ers vs. Packers: NFC divisional round preview

49ers vs. Packers

The San Francisco 49ers will be traveling on the road to take on another familiar face. They will be going against the NFC’s number one seed in the Green Bay Packers. The two franchises have clashed in the playoffs on numerous occasions. The postseason series is now tied at 4-4; however, the Packers are 0-3 against San Francisco during the Aaron Rodgers era.

On Saturday, Green Bay has an opportunity to pick up their first playoff victory over San Francisco since 2001. They have waited for this opportunity since the 37-20 beatdown in the NFC championship game two seasons ago.

A few things must happen for the Packers to be successful against the 49ers this Saturday. Their defense must account for 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuels at all times. He is their most dangerous threat on offense right now. Samuels can present challenges within the running attack and through the air. They also must not allow tight end George Kittle to become a factor in this game. Kittle’s skillset can become a mismatch nightmare for any defense. Having a defender that can match his physicality is going to be crucial.

As for Rodgers and the offense, they must figure out ways to rattle San Francisco’s top-rated defense. The 49ers’ 206.5 passing yards per game were ranked fifth in the league when defending the pass. What was exposed in last week’s wild-card game between San Francisco and Dallas was that San Francisco’s secondary can be attacked. However, Dallas was not consistent in its approach. For the 49ers to win Saturday’s game, their method of attack must remain the same.

Like any other great quarterback, an opposing team must limit their opportunities on the field. The 49ers have the personnel on offense that can minimize Rodgers’s chances in Saturday’s matchup. Their rushing attack is one of the most aggressive in the NFL right now. If head coach Kyle Shanahan feels he has the edge over an opposing defense, he will continue to run the same plays until adjustments are made.

If Green Bay fails to make San Francisco’s offense one-dimensional, they will win this game easily. What has always been unique about Shanahan’s system is that it’s not highly dependent on the performance of an elite quarterback. While it’s a run-oriented attack, the 49ers’ offense can be difficult to defend from their air as well, especially in short to intermediate passing situations. 

Predicted Outcome

San Francisco will keep this game with Green Bay close, but the Packers will be advancing to the NFC championship game for the third consecutive year. Green Bay has the better closer at the quarterback position in Aaron Rodgers. They have all the ingredients needed to counter anything Shanahan may present in Saturday’s game.

49ers         28

Packers     37

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Photo courtesy of Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.

Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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