More explosive 49ers offense will test Packers defense

49ers WR Randy Moss

49ers WR Randy Moss

The San Francisco 49ers are a popular preseason Super Bowl pick headed into the 2012 season.

Led by dominant defensive end Justin Smith, and the All-World linebacking duo of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers plan to be in contention for a Championship so long as their key players stay healthy. And while San Francisco’s fierce front seven will surely be a thorn in the side of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense, the 49ers improved offense will provide a difficult test to the Packers heavily scrutinized defense.

In last year’s 13-win season, the 49ers ranked eighth in the league in rushing averaging 127.8 yards per game. However, the passing game was a far different story, as San Francisco ranked 29th in the NFL last season in passing offense, averaging just 183.1 yards per game through the air. Although quarterback Alex Smith did a terrific job taking care of the football, his 17 passing touchdowns ranked just 17th in the NFL.

San Francisco’s deficiencies in the passing game were so glaring that they opted to use only three wide receivers throughout the course of last year’s NFC Championship Game. With Ted Ginn out of the lineup due to injury, the 49ers used a run-oriented approach with at least two tight ends on the field for 81.9 percent of the game.

The stingy 49ers defense was able to hold the Giants to just 20 points on a sloppy playing field in San Francisco, allowing their ground-and-pound approach to put them in position to win the game. But in the end, after a Kyle Williams fumble in overtime, the Giants made one more play than the 49ers and advanced to Super Bowl XLVI.

But after reinforcing their offense with several new weapons, the 49ers plan on lighting up the scoreboard in 2012.

In hopes of taking the lid off of opposing defenses, San Francisco signed future Hall of Famer Randy Moss. The 35-year-old wideout sat out the 2011 season but reportedly ran a sub-4.4 forty-yard dash while working out for New Orleans in March. Moss certainly isn’t the game-breaker he once was, but at 6’4″ he remains a dangerous threat in the red-zone.

Less than a week after adding Moss, the 49ers announced they signed the hero of Super Bowl XLVI–former Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham. Both Moss and Manningham saw time with the starting offense this preseason, and Moss is currently listed as the starter opposite Crabtree on San Francisco’s depth chart.



2012 NFL Schedule: Packers Schedule To be Revealed Tonight

National Football LeagueAccording to Will Brinson of CBSSports.com, the NFL will release their 2012  schedule at 7PM EST on NFL Network.  Even if you don’t subscribe to the NFL’s own channel, there will be plenty of places to find the Green Bay Packers 2012 schedule (including right here).

While it has been known for months who the Packers will be playing during the upcoming season, the exact weeks, times and stations of those games has remained unknown.

So, what does this mean for you?

Well, by about 8PM EST tonight, you’ll be able to have every Sunday, Monday, Thursday and possibly Saturday scheduled from the middle of August straight through the cold Wisconsin winter.  In fact, it would probably be wise if you started spending more time with your families and loved ones now to make up lost time during the NFL season.

In case you were wondering, here is a list of opponents that will likely be losing to the Packers once the season begins:

Home – Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans

Away – Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts



Green Bay Packers 2012 Opponents Set in Stone

The Packers' 2012 opponents are now set in stone.

The 2011 Green Bay Packers are 15-1 and two weeks away from hosting a Divisional round playoff game.

But for the sake of getting the information out, let’s take a quick second to look ahead to the 2012 NFL season. When the New York Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, the Packers’ opponents for next season became set in stone.

In addition to annual home games against the Detroit Lions (10-6), Chicago Bears (8-8) and Minnesota Vikings (3-13) in the NFC North, the Packers will host the San Francisco 49ers (13-3), Arizona Cardinals (8-8), New Orleans Saints (13-3), Tennessee Titans (9-7) and Jacksonsville Jaguars (5-11) next season.

The winning percentage this season of the eight teams the Packers play in 2012 at lands at .539 (69-59).

The Packers will then have road games against the three NFC North teams, the Houston Texans (10-6), Indianapolis Colts (2-14), St. Louis Rams (2-14), Seattle Seahawks (7-9) and New York Giants (9-7).

The winning percentage of the eight road games, including the three NFC North teams, is just .398 (51-77).

The official NFL schedule is typically released sometime in late March or early April.

A couple of interesting tidbits from the Packers’ 2012 opponents:

  • The Packers haven’t lost a regular season game to the 49ers since 1990, and have won eight straight in the series at Lambeau Field.
  • If you eliminate the preseason, the Packers have yet to play a game against the Cardinals since Arizona beat Green Bay in the Wildcard round of the 2009 playoffs.
  • The last time the Packers and Titans met, Tennessee beat Green Bay in overtime in 2008 to stay undefeated.
  • The potential exists for the Packers to play a Colts’ team led by current Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. He’s the consensus No. 1 pick in April’s 2012 NFL draft, which the Colts currently hold. If you remember, the Packers lost in a big upset on the road in 1997 the year before the Colts drafted another quarterback No. 1. That soon-to-be draft pick was Peyton Manning.
  • The Packers will play four of the league’s seven worst teams records-wise in 2012.

Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.