5

January

Packers vs. 49ers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 20 SF 23

hands_to_faceGreen Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:  2013 Wild Card Round

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

This will be the second meeting this season and the fourth in the last 16 months between the clubs. The Packers visited San Francisco in Week 1 this season, a 34-28 win for the 49ers.

Including playoffs, the Packers have won 13 of the last 17 games against the 49ers, but San Francisco has emerged victorious in the last three.

It’s cold at Lambeau Field, with temperatures in the single digits and dropping. It’s possible the temperature will remain at or above zero through most of the game, with the brutal cold arriving later in the evening. Still, wind chills will be in the minus-20 range for most of the game and possibly getting worse.

 

As per team tradition, the Packers alternated game captains each week during the regular season. The team elects captains for the entire postseason.

Today’s captains for the Packers will be WR Jordy Nelson and QB Aaron Rodgers (offense), S Morgan Burnettand LB A.J. Hawk (defense), and K Mason Crosby and CB Jarrett Bush (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
13 WR Chris Harper
16 QB Scott Tolzien
20 CB Jumal Rolle
51 LB Nate Palmer
52 LB Clay Matthews
65 G Lane Taylor
73 C/G JC Tretter

San Francisco 49ers
22 CB Carlos Rogers
46 TE Derek Carrier
54 LB Nick Moody
62 G Ryan Seymour
71 DT Quinton Dial
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin

Startling lineup change: 26 CB Trumaine Brock starts for Rogers.

 

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Packers vs. 49ers – First Impressions – First Half:

Hope all the #Packers fans at Lambeau stay warm and BRING THE NOISE!!! #gopackgo

The Eagles’ loss to the Saints last night highlights the problems of poor run defenses. I’m hoping but not confident that the Packers can get back into their earlier season form in that regard.

Three runs to start the game, and a three-and-out. Message sent, but at what cost?

Sam Shields down… Not a good sign for the Packers.

Two fumbles so far, one by each team. Could see more of this with the weather, but who will take advantage of it?

It’s going to be a long day for the secondary, as Crabtree is wide open for the 4th down conversion.

3

January

Packers vs. 49ers Wild Card Round Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Wild Card Round: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 9-7 Green Bay Packers 24-21
It’s going to be brutally cold. Advantage: Packers. It’ll probably be a little uglier than expected but 2013 can become an even more special season if the Packers can exact revenge upon San Francisco in the brutal cold. The legend that is Aaron Rodgers grows stronger after the win.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 8-8 Green Bay Packers 28-27
Packers must be deadly efficient in the red zone scoring TDs not field goals. Defense has to force a few Niner field goals in the red zone.
Adam Czech 10-6 San Francisco 49ers 33-24
How are the likes of Andy Mulumba and M.D. Jennings supposed to stop Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and a bruising 49ers offense? Like they have all season, the Packers will fight until the end, but I don’t see this one ending well for the (frozen) home team.
Marques Eversoll 9-7 Green Bay Packers 30-27
This is the fifth time that a team (Packers) will host a playoff game against a team (49ers) with at least four more regular-season wins. The home team (with the worse record) came out on the winning side the previous four times. Who am I to pick against history? The Packers win and live to see another week.
Thomas Hobbes 8-8 Green Bay Packers 27-21
For all that the Packers rely on Aaron Rodgers, this game really is about Eddie Lacy; the Packers have tried 3 times to beat the 49ers through the air without a real semblance of a running game and the 49ers defense is good enough to cover their secondary weakness when an offense is one dimensional.  If Lacy can keep the defense honest, the Packers will have a shot winning.
Cory Jennerjohn 12-4 San Francisco 49ers 31-23
The 49ers have the distinct advantage on the offensive and defensive line. And since this game will be played in biblical polar conditions, the big boys up front will win or lose the game. The biggest nightmare for Dom Capers should be Vernon Davis. He is healthy and virtually unguardable, especially with the linebackers the Packers have. The Packers must play mistake-free football to stay close.
12

September

Packers Stock Report: Wide Receivers can also be Tough Guys Edition

Randall Cobb showed toughness by fighting for this touchdown.

When you think of tough football players — whether they play for the Packers or not — you probably think of Mike Singletary and his stare, Ray Nitschske and his scowl or Ronnie Lott lopping off part of his finger so he could keep playing.

You probably don’t think of too many wide receivers, especially modern-day receivers with their diva-like tendencies. There’s a couple of Packers wide receivers that are the exception to that rule, though, and should be on any list of tough guys in today’s NFL.

Read this week’s stock report to learn more:

Rising

Jordy Nelson
Randall Cobb
When we talk about the Packers being a tougher, more physical team, I think most of us probably mean that the defense needs to hit harder and the offensive line needs to start pushing people around to get the run game going. We probably don’t put wide receivers into the toughness equation, but we should. Both Nelson and Cobb are coming off injuries and absorbed some wicked hits on Sunday. The kept getting up for more. They completely sold out on every single play and did whatever they could possibly do to punch back at the 49ers defense — the big bully on the block. Cobb and Nelson might not play a position defined by toughness, but they both proved on Sunday that they’re two of the toughest players on the Packers roster.

Ryan Pickett
According to Pro Football Focus, Pickett has three stops on Sunday — solo tackles that resulted in an offensive failure. Frank Gore didn’t have the space he’s used to against the Packers and Big Grease is one of the reasons why. The soon-to-be 34 year old looked as good as he ever has, absorbing double teams, winning the battle when single-blocked, and causing chaos inside.

Steady

Tim Masthay
Ging matched all-world punter Andy Lee punt for punt and even took over kickoff duties. More importantly, Masthay is fearless! He made one tackle on a kick return and nearly had another. I wonder if he can play safety?

Mike Neal
I thought the Neal-as-outside linebacker experiment would be a massive failure, but so far, so good. He’s an anchor on the edge against the run and even got after Colin Kaepernick a few times in the pass rush. He’s nowhere near an adequate complement to Matthews yet, but if he keeps making progress, who knows…

11

September

Packers Memes and Myths: It’s Dom Capers’ Fault

Packers Dom Capers

Dom Capers – Is it his fault?

After the 49ers had a big day once again this past Sunday against the Packers, Twitter and Facebook were rocking with fans calling for Dom Caper’s head. He doesn’t make in-game adjustments. He’s too old – the game has passed him by.  His scheme was all wrong. And those were just the nice comments, I won’t repeat some of the other ones.

There’s just one problem with this groundswell of emotional hysteria – it’s dead wrong – well, at least as far as this game goes. Look, I’ve been on both sides of the Capers fence myself. The soft zone on third and a few yards? Three man rush on 3rd and long? Yeah, I’ve had my complaints too. But if you watched this 49ers game and came out thinking the loss was Capers’ fault, then I don’t know what to say to you.

Capers had almost eight months to prepare for this game and he came up with a pitch perfect plan. Don’t let Kaepernick break your resolve with his feet when you think you’ve got them stopped. Make Kaepernick beat you in the air, especially with the 49ers missing their #1 and #3 receivers. The fact that Kaepernick was able to do so is not Dom Capers’ fault. To re-work a Bill Clinton phrase, “it’s the players, stupid.”

Up until the Friday before the game, I had every confidence the Packers would win this game. I had them winning 31-27 in our staff picks, despite realizing they’re probably not the better team overall, personnel-wise. After all, the 49ers had nine players in last year’s Pro Bowl, the Packers just two.

So what happened on Friday? The Packers found out they’d be without Morgan Burnett for the game, after having practiced and prepared all week with Burnett as the defensive backfield quarterback. Basically, the Packers had one day to re-work their roles and assignments in the secondary and make do with two players who are accustomed to being the direction followers, not the direction takers.

You saw what happened. the secondary looked like that of two years ago, when there was more finger-=pointing than play making. Cornerbacks handed off receivers to safeties only to find the safeties were out of position. There were plenty of holes in the Packers secondary on Sunday, and Anquan Boldin is the wily veteran who knows how to find them.

9

September

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy Made Right Decision to Accept Penalty

Don’t worry, coach McCarthy. I think you made the right decision to accept that second quarter penalty against the 49ers (I might be the only one to think that, though).

A lot of bad things happened after Mike McCarthy decided to accept a penalty and eschew a fourth-and-one situation near the goal line during the second quarter of the Packers’ loss to the 49ers on Sunday.

The decision gave the 49ers another crack at converting on third down — six yards away from the first down marker. Chaos ensued:

  • Colin Kapernick was forced out of bounds two yards short of the first-down
  • Clay Matthews launched himself at Kaepernick and drilled him after he stepped out of bounds, drawing a 15-yard penalty
  • Joe Staley went after Matthews, earning a 15-yard penalty himself
  • Matthews appeared to throw a punch at Staley and is lucky he didn’t get ejected
  • A bunch of other players got involved and had a mini Royal Rumble
  • The refs screwed up the offsetting penalty calls and wrongly replayed third down
  • The 49ers took advantage of the extra opportunity and scored a touchdown

Whew. Got all that? Life would have been so much easier if McCarthy just declined the original penalty and made Jim Harbaugh decide to go for it or kick a field goal on fourth-and-one, right?

In hindsight, probably. But we don’t judge on hindsight around here. I agreed with McCarthy’s decision to accept the penalty and push the 49ers back, even if it meant giving them another crack at converting on third down.

In all likelihood, Harbaugh probably would’ve went for it on fourth-and-one anyway. And in all likelihood, the 49ers probably would have converted. McCarthy knows this — he’d seen the 49ers offensive line bully his defenders and their passing attack baffle his defensive backs for nearly 10 quarters at that point. He also knew that Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have a handful of playcalls that the Packers just aren’t ready for (see the third-and-four pass to Vernon Davis late in the fourth quarter for exhibit A).

McCarthy also knows the numbers the 49ers have put up against the Packers lately. Check this post for the rundown. It ain’t pretty. After looking at those numbers and considering everything else, would you feel confident about the Packers ability to stop the 49ers from gaining one yard? I wouldn’t. I also would have elected to push the 49ers back another five yards to make them convert a third-and-six instead.

9

September

Packers Best Chance of Getting Past the 49ers in January? Hope Another Team Beats Them

Colin Kaepernick has matched Aaron Rodgers in two 49ers’ wins over the Packers.

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the Packers loss to the 49ers on Sunday.

Yes, it was a nice effort from the Packers. A lot of things didn’t go their way and they hung in until the end.

At the same time, I still have no doubt that the 49ers are the better team. Zip. Zero. Nadda. The 49ers are bigger, stronger, tougher and just plain better.

Doesn’t matter how hard the Packers scrapped to hang with them Sunday, why should I feel good when the 49ers continue to steamroll my favorite team?

Take a look at these numbers and try not to immediately dive out your window:

In their last 3 games against the Packers, the 49ers have:

  • Averaged 483 total yards
  • 200 rushing yards
  • 5.5 yards per rush
  • 284 passing yards
  • Completed 67 percent of their passes
  • Averaged 35 points.

In games not against the Packers over that same period, the 49ers have:

  • Averaged 372 total yards
  • 155 rushing yards
  • 4.6 yards per rush
  • 213 passing yards
  • Completed 63 percent of their passes
  • Averaged 25 points.

Yup. The 49ers own the Packers.

The 49ers have beat the Packers with Alex Smith — a game-managing pocket passer — and Colin Kaepernick, a mobile up-and-comer with a cannon for an arm and the ability to run the read-option.

Jim Harbaugh consistently outschemes Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers — coming up with unique formations, unscouted looks and clutch playcalls in key parts of the game that make the Packers look completely befuddled.

Name one position group where the Packers have consistently outplayed the 49ers in the three games? Outside linebacker because of Clay Matthews…maybe? That’s about it.

You’d think the Packers would easily outperform the 49ers at quarterback and wide receiver, but Kaepernick and Smith have matched Rodgers blow for blow and Anquan Boldin single-handedly kept pace with the Packers wideouts on Sunday.

Yes, the Packers have been in all three games, but it’s tough to get blown out when Rodgers is your quarterback. As long as No. 12 is back there, the Packers will be in it, even if they’re getting dominated in every facet of the game like they do against the 49ers. I suppose that’s one thing to feel good about.

8

September

Packers at 49ers: Keys to the Game

Colin Kaepernick ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards against the Packers in the playoffs.

Colin Kaepernick ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards against the Packers in the playoffs.

Well, Green Bay Packers fans, game day is almost here!  The last time the Packers played in a meaningful game, it was in San Francisco and against the 49ers.  It’s only fitting that Green Bay returns to the scene and really test how much this year’s team has improved.

Both teams have undergone changes since that last matchup.  The Packers have gotten a bit younger and added more to their defensive front in that of first round pick Datone Jones and with the return of veteran Johnny Jolly.  They also added another potential diamond in the rough at cornerback in that of fifth-rounder Micah Hyde.  With Casey Hayward ruled out for this week’s game, Hyde could see some spot duty at defensive back.

The 49ers are without stud receiver Michael Crabtree (torn Achilles) and will rely on newly-acquired veteran Anquan Boldin, to fill in.  San Francisco also lost a key piece of their secondary with hard-hitting safety Dashon Goldson moving on to Tampa Bay in free agency.  They looked to veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and rookie Eric Reid to fill that void.

With all of those changes, let’s look at some of the key factors that will play a role in the outcome of Sunday’s game.

Defend the Read Option/Dom Capers

If you’re getting tired of reading about this, also know that I’m getting tired of writing about it.  But still, it’s important and warrants attention.  The Packers were shredded by 9ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the divisional playoff game.  They were flat-out unprepared and that responsibility falls, first and foremost, on defensive coordinator Dom Capers and head coach Mike McCarthy.

Before we harp on defending the read option as the bible to the Packers’ success this weekend, let’s not forget that Jim Harbaugh is San Francisco’s head coach.  He thrives on outsmarting his opponent and keeping them off balance.  While I expect to see read option and Kaepernick trying to take advantage of anything the Packers defense gives him, the 9ers aren’t going to line up and run this scheme all day long.