Packers XLV

Will Mr. Rodgers Shine In His Old Neighborhood?

Posted January 17th, 2020 @ 07:01pm

On one hand it kinda feels like we're playing with house money. The Packers have reached the NFC title game a year ahead of schedule, with most believing it would take their rookie, first-time head coach and the offense a year to get its footing. And no one knew what to expect from a defense that got a high priced make over in the offseason.

On the other hand, their 36-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback has officially entered his golden years and any season where he remains healthy should be one where this team contends. A healthy Aaron Rodgers has the NFL's sixth best offensive line in front of him, and a top ten running back and wide receiver by his side. That gives him a chance to win on any given Sunday.

So here come the Packers, back to the scene of the Week 12 crime, where the 49ers eviscerated them in Week 12, exposing them as pretenders, rather than contenders in the NFC. It was the low point of the season: from the Rodgers fumble on the first series inside the ten yard line, to the loss of Bryan Bulaga on the game's ninth play, to a complete inability to throw the ball downfield (0-8 on passes of 10+ yards) to a game-long failure on third down (1-15).

But everything has changed since then. Rodgers completely shifted the narrative last week against the Seahawks, with a near perfect performance on third downs. The defensive players took it upon themselves to meet privately and air things out following the Niners loss. While they were getting after quarterbacks and stiffening in the red zone, they were susceptible to explosive plays--giving up two TDs of 40+ yards against the Niners. But since that game, they've given up just one TD of 20+ yards over the last five games.

No one outside of the Bay Area expects to see another 37-8 beatdown. But you can argue that San Francisco is much healthier for the rematch, and after struggling to the finish line with a 3-2 record and a bunch of close games, they put it all together last week in their dominance of the Vikings.

Let's start with the Pack's D against Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense. As they did so well last week, they will try to run it down the Pack's throat with their three-headed attack. The Pack will need to win on first downs and put the young QB in tough down and distance situations. I worry most about Raheem Mostert, who's tough and slippery and capable of the big play.

Obviously, their biggest weapon is George Kittle, who was dealing with an ankle injury in the first meeting and was on the field for just 38 snaps. He was still able to dominate, with 129 receiving yards and a 61 yard touchdown. He'll get his catches, but the defense needs to limit the yards after catch--the same goes for rookie Deebo Samuel, who is so dangerous with the ball in his hands. And veteran Emmanuel Sanders gives them another dynamic target in the passing game.There has been so much talk about the Niners' great front, but the Pack should be able to bother Garoppolo as well. Getting him off his timing so he can't play catch with those three guys is essential.

The Pack's offense self-destructed when Bulaga went down in the first meeting. He's back this week, recovered from the flu, and now we know the team has a capable backup in Jared Veldheer, should he get hurt again. Bulaga's return should also boost the run game, which was non-existent in the first meeting.

Aaron Jones must get 20-25 touches in this game, with an opportunity to make plays as a receiver against this aggressive pass rush. SF gives up 4.5 yards per rush, 10th worst in the league. Green Bay absolutely must be productive in the running game. And look for Tyler Ervin to get a few more opportunities on gadget plays; he's earned snaps with the offense.

The Niners will obviously pay a ton of attention to Davante Adams but I don't expect them to have Richard Sherman follow him around. He usually mans the offensive right side and stays there. The Pack will move Adams around and seek out favorable matchups. If Adams finds success, maybe Sherman locks down on him. Regardless, others will need to step up. Jimmy Graham had three huge first down catches last week and Allen Lazard is healthy and will be needed to move the chains on Sunday night. And maybe we see some production from Jace Sternberger, who saw his most extensive action of the season last week.

The recipe for a Packers upset contains all the usual ingredients: win the turnover battle, convert on third downs and get big third down stops on defense. Tighten up in the red zone and force them to settle for field goals. Be balanced on offense and avoid special teams mistakes.

Look a little closer and here's what we need to see. Bakhtiari and Bulaga should be able to handle Ford and Bosa for most of the game. The trouble could come on the interior, where Billy Turner will have to deal with Buckner, Armstead and those great ends who will stunt from the inside. That's a matchup that could cause Rodgers to run for his life. Look for Marcedes Lewis to get a lot of snaps to help deal with the pass rush--and look for him to slip free and make 2-3 big catches.

Look for the Packers secondary to give up a few big plays, but also look for them to win a few big battles too. Garoppolo will throw some balls up for grabs inside the numbers, where most of his production comes. It feels like Jaire Alexander is ready to take one to the house on this big stage. The Packers' defense has gotten such improved play out of the safety position this season and Amos and Savage need to have their best games against this balanced offense--and Pettine will need to guess right on what's coming more often than not.

The Niners are 7.5 point favorites for a reason. Top to bottom, their roster is stronger than Green Bay's. They're healthy, they're at home and they match up well with the Packers, who have struggled against strong running games and elite tight ends.

But the Packers have Rodgers. Last week he showed that he can still rise up and put together an elite performance when the lights are brightest. And now he gets another chance against the team he grew up rooting for, the team that passed him over on draft day in a matchup that few experts give him a chance of winning. Chip, meet shoulder.

Oh, and the previous three times a team with at least 13 regular season wins was at least a touchdown underdog in the title game, they won the game outright. I love this stat. Read it again.

I see the 49ers leading for most of the game, with the Packers hanging around, always within shouting distance. The Niners lead 26-21 late and #12 gets one last chance to bring his team back. You gonna bet against him?

Packers 28  49ers 26

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Comments (30):

LMAO Rodgers saved the chip on his shoulder for this one, not the 37-8 drubbing a few weeks ago. Oh, Davey!

on January 17th, 2020 at 01:48pm

I'm going into this one with high hopes and low expectations. Besides, I'm too distracted by the "L" tattooed on Greg's forehead to care about whatever he posts. GO PACK GO!!!

on January 17th, 2020 at 02:56pm

I love the optimism and the fact we are still in this! I don't know where Larry is and I would very surprised if he picked the Pack to win. Now though, is not the time for realism and statistical analysis. Now is the time for fandom, hope, and cheering. We gotta chance, because our team is playing the game. We have A chance and a reason to cheer! Go Pack! GO!

on January 17th, 2020 at 05:58pm

I like your post Dave,feel the same way,steal it late,been a great season,exceeded my expectations, I know we’re short a couple pieces,a lot closer than the Vikings though,as for the bitter asshole Greg,that’s what 60 years of losing does to you!!!Go Pack Go

on January 17th, 2020 at 07:38pm

Lynx have a title Elroy,hooray,wow,oboy!!

on January 17th, 2020 at 09:46pm

Hey dipshit Greg,what was the score of the eagles Vikings game a couple years ago in the nfc championship,was it 38-9 ass kicking,hope you’re memory isn’t as short as you know what 😂😂😂

on January 17th, 2020 at 09:54pm

Hey dumbass Greg 2018 nfc championship eagles 38 Vikings 7,same as packers 49ers week 12 score,what was the year Giants blasted us 41 zip in nfc championship,keep running your mouth asswipe!!

on January 17th, 2020 at 10:02pm

The 49ers fans here are uber confident, but that doesn’t stop me from letting them know it won’t be a repeat of our last trip to the bay. I’ve got my favorite official Packers Bar up the road and will be joining over 100 cheese heads to have an epic time Sunday! Go Pack Go! BTW- my opinion about Greg- ignore him. I’m personally tired of the whole thing, and we don’t need to join in and engage. I’d love this to be about respect to our team and our year! Just ignore the hate, don’t go join them at the swamp.

on January 17th, 2020 at 11:37pm

So the Vikings got run by Philadelphia the same way you did against the 49ers. Are you saying Dave would pick the Vikings had they played Philly again? I'm trying to show the hypocrisy of packer fans but it will go right over your heads. Oh, and when you get run again, it will be a great, successful season anyway, unlike when the Vikings lost to Philly. You people.........LULZ

on January 18th, 2020 at 01:38am

That the Larry I'm looking for! No analyst from me. Just cheerleading! I'm going to be listening to the old town road packers parody song on repeat for the next 26 hours or so.

on January 18th, 2020 at 02:25pm

This is the Packers' 7th appearance in an NFC Championship Game. They are 3-3 in the first 6, with 2 road wins and 2 overtime losses. For all the lamenting over only 1 Super Bowl for Aaron Rodgers he has taken the Packers to the playoffs 9 of his 12 years as starter in Green Bay and this is his third championship game in the last 6 seasons to add to his HOF resume. This team has already far exceeded expectations this year and the season is a resounding success no matter the outcome Sunday or in Miami Feb. 2. While the Pack deserves to be the underdog their chances of winning and making the 6th Super Bowl appearance in the club's history are realistic. Profootballtalk.com had an article this week about the 37-8 game: it was closer than the score. PFT identified 6 plays that swung the game: 3 penalties, 1 coaching decision/play call on a critical 4th down and 2 narrow misses on passes. All correctible errors this time around. The Packers got routed in a game against Arizona 4 years ago and 3 weeks later took a 13-3 Cardinals team to overtime in a divisional playoff, after leading most of the game. If they don't win it I think they'll at least give Frisco a game. Maybe they do like in 1995 when they were given even less chance in a playoff out there but jumped out front early and won a signature game in franchise history. Looking beyond their earlier game the Packers look like a good chance when comparing their common opponents this season. The Niners were inches from losing twice to Seattle, whom the Packers disposed of last week. They beat the Queens 27-10 at home last week but Green Bay whipped them 23-10 in their own rigged stadium. Atlanta manged to win at Santa Clara. The 49ers are an excellent team but not ten feet tall and they put their pants on one leg at a time. Interesting feat: the Packers didn't play two bad games in a row this year and defeated every team they played a second time. LaFleur learns. Perhaps this time he gives his old mentor the lesson. GO PACK GO!!!!!

on January 18th, 2020 at 04:26pm

That’s the best you can do Greg,you’re really reaching,you just can’t explain all the purple losing,biggest one sided coward in Minnesota,terrible fan!!! Real mature,pick on another team to mask own teams ineptitude ,just like on the playground!!

on January 18th, 2020 at 05:12am

Yeah don’t pay attention to Greg,he’s a three year old starving for attention,not worth the effort,Rodgers needs a huge game and Jones and Williams need huge efforts to help the wideouts,Larry is right,oline has to be great and a couple turnovers would be sweet,Go Pack Go!!

on January 18th, 2020 at 06:24pm

Great breakdown Dave. I honestly don't know what to expect. On one hand, we are completely healthy for a playoff game, which never happens. I like our balanced attack and I think our defense can slow down 49ers enough to keep us in the game. On the other hand I thought the vikes would put up a fight last week against the 49ers and they got run out of the building, so what do I know. Bottom line, every single analyst, picked the packers as an 8-8 team at best in the preseason myself included. The fact that they have made it this far is unbelieveable. I'm very excited for tomorrow's game but even more excited to see what lafleur can turn this franchise into. Go pack go!

on January 18th, 2020 at 08:53pm

I love this take, Davey. Just give him that chance!

on January 18th, 2020 at 10:08am

I'm still here LDF. I just been reading all this attention you guys have been giving greg, is it worth it? I ignore those guys, I have a lot of viking fans that are fun to be with and some that are not, just like some Packer fans are to viking rubes. I like to talk about the game and enjoy the games. The first stat I thought that stuck out is what I have been preaching all year. TURNOVERS, when the Pack gets 1 turnover, they are 12-0, think about that. If the OL blocks like they did the first game, it will look just like the viking game. This game is on Ol and getting plus 1 in turnovers. I would even like to see Veldheer play as a 6th lineman if they have to help run the ball. If we keep them under 17 points we win, if in the 20's we lose. I just cant see The Packers scoring over 20 in this game. My long shot guy to step up is Geronimo. We need him to have 4 catches for 60 yards and td. I love THC score and hope it works out like that, BUT, Davey, if that happens, your score is wrong, it would be 27-26 or 29-26, they would go for 2, lol. I just hope its a great game. The Pack has provided a lot of fun this year. They have been hard to figure out, but enjoyed them all. I hope they put Tramon Williams on Kittle instead of LB. they won't keep up to him. The guy the scares me the most is WR Samuel. IF Lafluer, is smart, we will throw on 1st down 80% of the time. We don't want 3rd downs. that is what the niners strive on. Pick up 5-7 yards on 1st down and don't wait for 3rd down to throw, they will kill us. If they can hold there RB's to around 120 yards total and no big plays, we have great shot. So Here it is, if we get plus 1 in turnovers and hold them under 17 points we go to super bowl. If not we lose, Go Packers

on January 18th, 2020 at 10:59am

Dave — you might be a worse homer than PA

on January 19th, 2020 at 06:20pm

As expected, aside from the delusional analysis on this site, the 49ers are demolishing the Packers. Can’t wait for a decade of crap Packer football after Rodgers retires. Most entitled fans ever....

on January 19th, 2020 at 07:00pm

1 super bowl out of Rodgers... ONE!! Biggest waste of talent I have ever witnessed

on January 19th, 2020 at 07:10pm

Boy look at them jump on the site now,wow didn’t realize there was that much jealousy and envy over the packers,to Robert,one is better than none,good season packers,swept the purple pussies and Bears,couple draft picks and we’ll be okay,I’m glad the queens are staying with cousins and Dimmer and spielwoman,good for the division,well like the Vikings fans always say,wait till next year.Bye Bye,it was fun!!

on January 19th, 2020 at 07:46pm

Packers game still not as bad as 41-0 Giants ass kicking over Vikings right Greg !!

on January 19th, 2020 at 08:11pm

It’s a little different ballgame when the refs aren’t giving you three offensive pass interference calls against the Vikings or multiple hands to the face penalties against the Lions .... sad really

on January 19th, 2020 at 08:26pm

I'm just stopping in to see how quickly the packer fans have turned this to viking talk. Have a great offseason!

on January 19th, 2020 at 08:36pm

Wendy ... the sad thing is that Waseca is still better than Green Bay.

on January 19th, 2020 at 08:50pm

14-3 in a rebuild year? Not to bad. This game should have been closer but the refs decided to get involved early. The 9ers were allowed to hold all game long. Clearly the league wanted a west coast team in the super bowl again. Oh well. Aaron and crew will come back next year with renewed vigor, ready to prove all the media doubters and compromised refs wrong.

on January 19th, 2020 at 09:33pm

Any way you slice it, this was a season that far exceeded expectations. The future still looks good. Nothing to really complain about except those who bitch about wasting Rodgers’ prime years...of which you will never catch me doing. Winning a Super Bowl is very difficult. Never forget that.

on January 19th, 2020 at 09:53pm

snt it interesting how much attention Greg gets on this site. Come on guys and gals....don't fall for it...especially Larry, Voice, and LDF. This is a Packer site. Discuss Packers not some other jerk. He is like Odel Beckam ….wanting all the attention on him. That have been said...as to the Packers....Control the run...win 3rd downs on both sides of the ball. That is the big thing. Rodgers must be vintage Rodgers. Get a big play from Adams or Jones. Maybe some surprise under the radar guy...Irvin, Raven Green It happens a lot in these big games. GO PACK GO !!

on January 19th, 2020 at 10:46am

I think we were fortunate to receive some needed lessons in playoff football. This coaching staff will be better for it. The Pack far out performed our expectations and gave us football leading right up to what should be a very good Superbowl. I am thankful for the season. I am excited for the future. We will have plenty of time to talk draft and free agency. The Packers accomplished a lot this year. Never think Superbowl or bust, its a horrible way to live. We had a winning season. We won the division. We swept the division. We beat the Cowboys and the Chiefs. LaFleur outperformed all our previous rookie coaches. Aaron Jones has arrived as a serious weapon. The Smith brother are both productive and entertaining. There lots of reasons for good feelings about this team. Hell of a year. Go Packers.

on January 20th, 2020 at 10:05am

"Chip, meet shoulder" hahahahahhhhahahaha

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on March 22nd, 2020 at 08:17am

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