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A Blueprint to Beat the Niners

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A Blueprint to Beat the Niners

The word that Packer fans fear, Blueprint. With each loss, fans feared that opponents now had a perfectly laid map of how to beat the Packers. However, reviewing this weekend’s Divisional Round opponent, the “blueprint” might actually work in the Packers favor.

This Saturday the Packers travel to San Francisco for a rematch of their week one loss to the 49ers. In the week one match up, San Francisco out played the Packers in every facet of the game.

The Packers had one turnover, an Aaron Rodgers interception, the Niners had none. The Packers committed 10 penalties, the Niners were penalized 6 times. San Francisco gained 53 more yards and held the ball for 6 full minutes longer than Green Bay. The NFL didn’t credit the Packers defense with a single pass defended in that game.

Both teams are dramatically different than they were in week one. San Francisco has a new starting quarterback. The star running back on the Packers now was selling cars in week one. Jarrett Bush played 64% of the Packers defensive snaps against the Niners, since he has averaged 4% of defensive snaps. In week 1, David Akers converted three field goals, one from 63 yards. Now Akers is competing with Billy Cundiff for kicking duties.

But more so than the differences, then the progressions of each team and the game to game wear and tear, examining the Niners recent loss to the Seattle Seahawks may hold the key to how and why the Packers can win on Saturday.

Since switching to Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, the 49ers offense has become more multi-dimensional. Kaepernick has gained 415 yards rushing, 301 of those coming since assuming the starting quarterback role. A mobile quarterback with an accurate arm can carry the team, but the knock-out blow comes when you couple that with a strong running back performance.

In Week 16, Frank Gore ran for only 28 yards. Combined with Kaepernick’s 31, the team totaled only 82 yards on the ground that day. The 49ers converted on 27% of their third downs and their only touchdown came in “garbage time” at the end of the game. If the Packers can limit Gore and Kaepernick on the ground, the 49ers offense will stall.

The Packers run defense improved versus Adrian Peterson last Saturday, limiting him to 99 yards rushing, down 100 from his previous week’s total. However, the Packers also gave up 68 yards on the ground to Vikings quarterback Joe Webb.

With the return of Charles Woodson and improved play from Neal and Raji on the defensive line, the Packers defense will need to work on containment much like they did last Saturday. If they can limit Kaepernick and Gore’s ground game, the Packers will win.

But the defense won’t just have to contain, they need to capitalize on San Francisco’s mistakes. In all of the 49ers losses this season, they have committed at least one turnover. In week 16, the Niners fumbled the ball twice, losing one, and threw one interception. In the regular season the Packers defense has caught 18 interceptions, averaging one a game. It will be crucial for the Packers defense to create and capitalize on turnovers Saturday.

Another key from the Niners loss to the Seahawks was the difference in redzone production. In Week 16, Seattle was in the red zone 4 times and converted on all of them. San Francisco was 1 out of four. The Packers offense has been scattered all season, with injuries and personal changes, yet over the last four games have a 90% red zone scoring rate. If the Packers can maintain their recent offensive production and step up defensively, they will easily be looking at a trip to the NFC Championship game.

Jayme Joers is a writer at CheeseheadTV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of CheeseheadRadio part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

A-rodg's Mustache's picture

I had a dream last night that Rodgers from Atlanta circa 2010 playoff showed up to Candlestick this weekend and went off for 340, 4 passing, and 1 rushing.

my pants where a little damp when my alarm went off. :)

just thought I would share.

hayward4president's picture

Not many performances as good as that Atl game. Straight carved em up. AR has shown glimpses of that.....ie Houston game, but it's the playoffs....its a different atmosphere. I'd give my left testicle to have Seattle come to Green Bay so in the words of the late Al Davis "Just win baby"!

bryce's picture

This makes me think that Rodgers might go crazy on the Niners D: http://blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2013/01/06/aaron-rodgers-finally-gets-to-pl...

Lars's picture

The Seattle defense is tougher than GB's re: this blueprint. Also the Niners were on the road in a very difficult venue---seattle. They held Peterson to "only" 99 yards because the Vikings did not have an NFL caliber QB. So, they could play with nine or ten in the box and STILL AP got 99 yards.

I doubt softies like AJ hawk, Tramon Williams and the overmatched 2 and three man fronts Capers insists on employing will stop Gore and CK as well as the Seahawks did.

CSS's picture

With the number of injuries San Francisco has at the WR position I doubt Capers will run with many 2 man fronts. He's going to play a ton of base defense and even 4 man fronts with the personnel match-ups they'll have. Unless the Packers defense consistently gets the 49'ers in really awful down-and-distacne I doubt you'll see much dime defense. This may be the most base they play all year.

coreyb's picture

omg stfu

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Corey! Tell him!!!

John's picture

STFU says it all idiot

PackersRS's picture

Yeah, go #$¨¨ yourself, stick a @#%#$ up your !@$%, like your mother likes to! !@$%# !!!! Go back to the #$@$% @$$% you call home!

@#$@#%@#%!!!!!

packeraaron's picture

Um, I agree with Lars. Almost 100%.

packsmack25's picture

All those Giant fans giving you shit all year in New York have seeped into your thoughts. Remember that Aaron Rodgers is a bad, bad man.

packsmack25's picture

Also Frank Gore with 0 carries at age 29 is a bit different than Frank Gore with 250 carries at age 29. He's been steadily declining all year.

CSS's picture

You really believe Capers will be going with 2 man fronts and excessive dime formations against San Fran?

packeraaron's picture

He wrote "2 and three man fronts Capers insists on employing will stop Gore and CK as well as the Seahawks did."

2 & 3 man fronts. And yes, Capers goes way too heavy on sub-packages.

CSS's picture

I can't see 2 man fronts unless they consistently have San Fran in 3rd and 8 or greater. I expect a 3 man, primarily due to a great deal of base defense.

They deserve to lose if they play a ton of 2 man and dime against a team that has so little depth at the WR position.

packeraaron's picture

I agree, though I tend to worry how Dom will respond to their pistol stuff.

Doc J's picture

I agree with the first paragraph. The Packers had 8 or 9 (did not see the 10 he mentions, but maybe) players in the box throughout the game.

I hate to steal from Vic, but this week is another one of those "players, not plays" sort of weeks. The CBs and D-line will have to win their positional battles, that's all it comes down to.

PackersRS's picture

Sorry, sorry, my fault, forgot the sarcasm font...

Derek's picture

Looking like the turf at Candlestick will be closer to Fed Ex Field in Washington DC than good ol' Lambeau. That will affect the kicking game, not good news for our faithful kicker.

Jayme Snowden's picture

Or really for their "faithful" kicker either.

Slightly worried though about the footing and injury risk.

A-rodg's Mustache's picture

dont worry about the footing/injury risk. The Pack play at soldier field. It gets NO WORSE that that dump.

I, on the other hand, am worried about a slow track keeping our recievers in check against that D. But you play where they tell you to play.

Point Packer's picture

The Niners must have been watering it with the urine that San Fran wreaks of.

CSS's picture

Then it affects their replacement kicker as well.

Wagszilla's picture

This game reminds me a lot of the Eagles Wild Card in 2010. Need to stop the run, keep an eye on the QB.

Unfortunately, we don't have Desmond Bishop at LB to spy, which makes me nervous.

My heart says Packers but my head thinks Niners. :-\

DebDowner's picture

I bet anything Charles Wooodson plays spy on obvious passing downs

Otto's picture

I'm not reading anything coming out of Northern California that says, 'confidence'. In fact, it's just the opposite. I'm reading articles about the injured D-line and wide-outs and stories about Gore's numbers dropping since Kaepernick took over. Also, there's a shiver about Rodgers finally getting his revenge game in Candlestick.

On the other hand, the word coming out of Green Bay this week can be summed up as, "Anyone. Any time. Anywhere." No worries and plenty of swagger.

I'm not saying it's going to be an easy win for the Pack, but they have the right attitude to go in there and win.
I think the woopin' Seattle put on them a couple of weeks ago may have messed with their heads more than we realize.

Glorious80s's picture

Don't buy the talk. Harbaugh will have them rested and ready. Pack better bring all they've got, including Datko.

Evan's picture

Datko?

THEMichaelRose's picture

I didn't know where to post this, but I thought it was an awesome stat. From Mike Sando today:

"Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks this season, but none after Justin Smith played his final regular-season snap against New England in Week 15."

Justin Smith's effectiveness in this game is the X, Y, and Z factors.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I believe the key is pretty simple. Shutdown Frank Gore, and you stop their offense. He has been a Packer killer in the past and if you want to win you have to hold him and make the 49ers throw the ball.
Offensively, They have to run the ball, and Rodgers can not hold onto the ball. He needs to take the checkdowns like he did against the Vikings.

packsmack25's picture

Packer killer? Pretty sure he's only won once against us.

RC Packer Fan's picture

This year against the Packers Gore rand for 112 yards on 16 carries. 7.0 yards per run.
2009 he ran 7 times for 59 yards. 8.4 yards per run.
2006 he ran 18 times for 130 yards. 7.2 yards per run.

In each of his matchups against the Packers he has ran for no less then 7 yards per run average. That is what I consider a Packer Killer. A player that the Packers have had a hard time stopping in the past.

To me he is the key to beating the 49ers. If you allow him to run for 7 yards per carry saturday night. Its going to be very tough for the Packers to beat the 49ers.

Devil Doc's picture

Agree 100% with RC. #1 Goal for the Packers is to stop Gore, and force Kaepernick to make desciions. His inexperience in a game of this magnitude will show.

KurtMc's picture

Straight up RC. limit or shut down Gore, have the OLBs or CB play the lane AND DON'T get sucked in. Make the Rookie beat you through the air, not on the ground.

Way too many times do we over commit and turn a zero yarder into a 13 yard gain.

We have the advantage, believe it or not. My 2cents

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