Cory's Corner: Keep Believing In This Team

The Packers will be reminded about it all week. They will be hit over the head at every single turn.

After the Packers sealed a 28-23 win over Seattle on Sunday, a rematch with San Francisco now looms in the NFC Championship Game. The same 49ers that destroyed the Packers 37-8 on Nov. 24.

"Everyone knows how good Green Bay is, how good their coaching staff is, how good their players are, how good their quarterback is," said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who is 24-25 in his third season in San Francisco. "That game really holds zero relevance to what's going to happen this Sunday."

Many will write off the Packers because the 49ers have arguably the best front seven in football. That same front seven racked up 14 pressures on Kirk Cousins as the 49ers cruised to an easy 27-10 win over Minnesota.

But I agree with Shanahan. This Packers team has been building and climbing. And the scary thing is, I still don't think we have seen this team play its best football. They have survived some scares this year and have played well at times, but haven't really put it all together just yet.

"We've got to play a lot better obviously," said Aaron Rodgers, who threw two huge first downs in the final 2:19 on Sunday to seal another trip to Northern California.

Expect the 49ers to use the same script the Seahawks did: take Aaron Jones away. He was limited to just three yards a carry and only had two rushes that went over five yards. But Jones is the most versatile offensive weapon the Packers have. He's a lot more than just a running back. In the first meeting, he had just one target and was held without a catch. If the Packers cannot get things going on the ground, they cannot ignore him completely, because the screen and swing can be so deadly.

And Rodgers must learn that he cannot afford to hold on to the ball. He was pressured 15 times in the first meeting, including four each by Nick Bosa and Damontre Moore. The ball has to come out because the 49ers are so much faster than Green Bay. Davante Adams will win just about any one-on-one slant matchup, which will open up the double move later in the ballgame.

Also, remember that Jimmy Garoppolo will be starting in just his second postseason game. He looked pretty average vs. the Vikings and will give turnover opportunities to this Mike Pettine defense.

The Packers need to play their best game in order to get to the Super Bowl, and there's no reason to think that cannot happen.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (61)

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porupack's picture

January 14, 2020 at 06:40 am

Packers haven't played well when Rodgers gets pressured a lot. So unless LaFleur really throws in counter moves such as screens, and as you say, slants to Adams, and better have a lot of other designed unexpected targets when 49ers expect a screen to Jones, or a slant to Adams. The 1st quarter should be up tempo, quick passes to neutralize the pass rush, and wear them out a little.
The D has to come through with turnovers, and when they do.....angle the ball to the cameras a little bit more with less obstruction with their hands and body, and everyone in the scrum please shout the identity who has the ball.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:34 am

Establish two-back sets with some inside-zone traps. LaFleur should review Mike Shanahan's game plan vs the Pack in '97. Counter movement on the Ervin end around was brilliant. He has not released all out the variations from his playbook. Have to get solid movement from the Oline to spring the 4, 5 ,6 yards gains offf play action. Lindsley has to have a great game.

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Turophile's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:06 am

The difference between the 49ers and the Packers after the blowout in the previous game, is that the 49ers are unlikely to change that much, whereas the Packers will be dissecting that first meeting with a scalpel to find ways to do things better.

Sure it will be a tough game, mainly down to the 49ers defensive front 7 where they have spent most of their very high draft picks for the last five years. This is a year away from a curtain call for their front 7, as they cannot pay huge money on second contracts to Buckner AND Armstead AND D.J.Jones (who will go from less than $1m pa to a huge contract after 2020) AND Dee Ford (currently on $17m pa) and eventually Bosa, as well.

I don't expect them to fall apart completely, but they will rely more on fewer quality players. The Packers cannot match that draft outlay because they haven't sucked badly enough, for long enough, to use multiple first round and mostly top 10 draft picks on their front 7.

However, the Packers O line isn't chopped liver either, far from it. I expect them to play better than in the first meeting. The cost of their line was much less than the 49ers D line. A fourth round LT, a FA RG replaced this year by a very good second round pick. A fifth round center, a veteran pickup for RG and the one first round pick (the 23rd pick) at RT. A little help for the line, using Marcedes Lewis regularly to help out, could also make things easier for the Packers.

That is how you have to build things when you are always drafting in the mid-to-late 20's. They are a quality line, one of the best lines in the league, and one that even has solid replacements now with Veldheer, Patrick and Light. These guys were a fraction of the draft cost compared to, for example, the Cowboys O line.

All those draft picks make the 49ers a more talented team, but the Packers have a good locker room this year, and could upset the oddsmakers. It needs Rodgers to play well, but that is generally true in a conference final.

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porupack's picture

January 14, 2020 at 06:59 am

True, and 49ers are riding high in confidence, which can go against them (maybe).

But 49ers were missing some key defensive players and Oline IIRC.

MLF better have the Mike Vrabel magic to instill confidence in his players to slay the giant. Big test for MLF to work a strategy and stay a step ahead of Shanahan.

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Turophile's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:10 am

But D.J.Jones who had a big game in the last meeting, is on IR now.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

January 14, 2020 at 01:07 pm

49ers were without Ford, but we lost Bulaga very early in the game with Light coming in to back him up. Hopefully Bulaga is good-to-go, but I feel a whole lot better with Veldheer as the primary back-up based on his performance against Seattle.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:15 am

This is a great summary and perspective leading up to this game. The 49ers are scary good, because they've successfully worked the system leading up to this year, with consequences for that approach looming in upcoming years.

That makes them a very hard team to beat on Sunday however. I think the way GB wins this game is by accepting that they have about a 25% chance to win, and so they need to approach the game differently. GB can't come with the same game plan they've had for most of the year, they'll need to show new looks and they'll need to take risks. They may need to go for it on a few 4th downs early in the game. Getting in the right mindset is key, and this game more than any other this year, is on MLF and Pettine to coach the team up. A win in SF would have to put MLF as the front runner for COY.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:38 am

No turnovers. No Gifts.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 15, 2020 at 01:39 am

SF has $16.7M in cap space. Armstead, Jimmie Ward and Emmanuel Sanders are all UFAs. DL Sheldon Day (330 snaps, 1 sack - starter now) and Ronald Blair (201 snaps, 3 sacks) are also UFAs and the will command interest. [DJ Jones is indeed on IR: good grief SF has a lot of DL talent!] RB Matt Brieda and WR Bourne are RFAs, and just tendering them should run close to $5M. SF will need about $2M+ to sign its draft picks.

SF doesn't have a lot of easy ways to pick up cap space. Buckner will be playing for $14.6M on a 5th year option. SF might pick up a couple to several million if they can reach a long-term deal. Trading or waiving Solomon Thomas doesn't help their cap since all but $735K stays with SF in either event. Kwon Alexander has a cap savings of $9.75M. No matter what SF fans say, he was just above average for SF, so his $12.75M cap number is way too high. Jimmy G has cap numbers of $26.6M, $26.9M and $27M. SF could convert a ton of his 2020 base salary ($23.8M) to a signing bonus, and depending on how aggressive they want to be, could clear $10M+ in cap space. I am sure SF will get creative.

Now, let's focus on Sunday's game.

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porupack's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:00 am

And please use the 2 and 3 TE sets. That worked last week, and will be a big aid to the pass rush. Please target Big Dawg, with Graham as decoy.

I don't expect D can contain the 49er receivers Samuel, Bourne and Sanders, if they have to double up to Kittle, and yet guard Breida coming out of the backfield. So a long night unless they can really put 49ers in a weird funk as Texans 1st quarter, lights out punch to the chiefs, and the offense has to put up points and pressure, and hope Garrapolo makes some bad throws.

Despite some reasons to believe in this team, I don't think they win, but that is a pretty good place to be right now, as underdog mentality seems to be the theme this year, considering the venerable Saints, Ravens, and Patriots all wondering what went wrong.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:42 am

Samuel is a rookie and Bourne a Gmo clone. Shut down Kittle and Jaire can handle Sanders or Deebo. Hopefully Sullivan can go. I would get Gary's looks up to 30 reps to keep the Pass Rush fresh throughout the battle. Fackerell has to win some 1:1 s.

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Gman1976's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:04 am

Last month, the Saints put a lot of points on the board against the 49ers in a wild shoot out. Maybe it was a fluke, but there Are probably some great lessons to learn from them on how to score on the 49er defense. They can be beaten and have been beaten. So let’s do it! Go Pack!

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Packer_Fan's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:21 am

Yes, keep believing. They just beat a good team with a very difficult to defend QB. The Pack are better now then when they were beat by SF. Go Pack!!

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Cheesey51's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:30 am

To win ,The Packers must come out fast and punch them in the mouth.The Packers never let up in the SeaHawks game and won't letup in this game.( I do not expect a massive amounts of turnovers by GB's offense
It is the freakin NFC Championship. There is no tommorrow. Matt LaFleur called an excellent game against Pete Carroll. MLF knows the49ers Head coach & DC well. He will be ready this time.
It is going to take some unique plays to go up on SF on offense
I'd like to see a couple of jumbo pkg with Jared & Bulaga & Lewis. In short yardage,I'd like to see Aaron jones up the middle when expected and flip it back to Rodgers who passes to Big Dog Lewis for TD
Kevin King and the Defensive secondary must play loose and take advantage of Jimmy G in coverage

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murf7777's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:31 am

This is going to be a very tough game for us to win. But, every team has weaknesses and I believe if the packers are to win it will be because our front 7 puts consistent pressure onto Grappollo and he gets nervous and throws multiple INT’s. He hasn’t played in a game with this much at stake so that might be their Achilles heel.

Since talent wise we are inferior and we are playing at their house, the only way we win is if we win the TO battle and not give them any easy TD’s due to field position. Also, Arod has to play an elite game.

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packerbackerjim's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:34 am

In my dreams I see Kittle being double teamed, the Niners RBs being contained, and Garapolo harassed. Offensively, Vitale (if healthy), Kumerow and MVS will need to play their very best. No dropped passes. Jones and Williams chipping and peeling off for a pass receptions.

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NickPerry's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:45 am

Football is funny right...We go right through the Seahawks and build a nice lead then close it out with good defense and timely throws by Rodgers. The 49ers on the other hand came within about 1 inch of going 0-2 against the Seahawks and IMO should have except for a complete brain fart with a delay of game penalty at the 1 yard line.

In 2014 the Packers got spanked in the NFL opener by Seattle. In the final game of the year the Packers HAD THEM. It doesn't matter who did or didn't do what, they beat the crap out of Seattle for 55 minutes in that game. The Packers felt they won the SECOND Morgan Burnett intercepted Wilson and he went down. HUGE mistake obviously.

My point is it doesn't matter what the hell happened the first time they played. The Packers CAN go into Santa Clara and win on Sunday. It's hard to beat a team twice in the same season, especially when it isn't a familiar foe. I have a feeling Sundays game will look a lot different. Adams is COMPLETELY healthy and in a grove. Aaron Jones, Jamal Williams, and Tyler Ervin all bring different skills to the offense...USE the all. Rodgers said after the win this past Sunday he felt a Jordy Nelson like connection with Adams for the first time. They'll need more than just that, but that's one hell of a place to start.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:10 am

SInce the first 49ers meeting the Packers have essentially added a few playmakers. I posted Adams numbers in his first 4 games compared to his last 4 games. in returning from injury. He is basically averaging 4 yards per catch more.

But not just Adams. Since the 49ers game Allen Lazard has really picked up his game. In the 5 games before the 49ers game Lazard had 18 receptions for 220 yards and 1 TD. In the 5 regular season games after the 49ers he had 16 receptions for 250 yards and 2 TD's. Those don't sound like big improvements but he went from averaging 12.2 to 15.6 yards per catch. And he has came up with some crucial key catches in these games. Unfortunately he got hurt against the Seahawks but he said he is good to go. He is a really good complimentary player to Adams.

SInce that game they have added Ervin. He has become an very versatile player for the offense and he has added a new dimension to it.

And Graham is coming off his best game as a Packer!

Ohh and there is this ole number 12. Yeah he is coming off one of his best games of the year.

I really like our chances in this one!

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Cubbygold's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:45 am

Was echoing some of these comments below. One area that I worry about is SF got Joe Staley back and Kwon Alexander. Last game, SF had 12 tackles for loss, and GB had 4. I think that will be a key to this game, and is on MLF and Pettine to determine that outcome.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:50 am

Cousins vs Russell Wilson on the apple s to oranges comparison. Viking DTs could not get movement. Hope the flu bug has moved out of the lockerroom. Should be a fun game.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 14, 2020 at 03:04 pm

I'm referring to GB vs SF when I say 'last game', not talking about the vikings

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dobber's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:04 am

Packers must get an early lead, must not turn the ball over. Put the game on Garoppolo's shoulders. He will make mistakes.

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Handsback's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:06 am

I remember a similar situation with the Packers many years ago. The team they faced had beat them earlier in the season and just destroyed an opponent that also had beaten the Packers. Their defense was strong, particularly the Dline and they had an offense led by a young mobile QB.
The game was played in Green Bay, but not many experts thought Green Bay's old team could win and get to the SB.
Not only did the Packers win, but won by a score of 28-7. The Rams defense was considered too strong for the Packer's Oline to open holes or protect Starr.
Anything can happen on game day, and I fully expect the Packers to surprise the 49ers with their play. Will the Packers win? I don't know, but I've seen enough to say there's a chance.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:47 am

A couple of recent similar situations like this was in 2014 the Packers played the Seahawks in week 1 and lost 36-16. In the NFC Championship game they lost 28-22. They should have won that game. In 2015 the Packers played the Cardinals in week 16 and got blown out 38-8. They played them in the divisional round and took them to OT and lost 26-20.

While they lost the 2nd meetings in each of those games, they were in those games and had chances to win them. They were blown out in the first games and nearly won the 2nd...

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:48 am

But in both cases we lost - right. You are not making me feel confident :o)

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:53 am

Dom and Mike are gone. I feel more confident with this crew.

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Guam's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:22 am

I believe there are four keys to the game for the Packers:

(1) We need Bulaga to play the whole game. He only played 9 snaps the first game and Light struggled mightily against 49er D-line;

(2) Our O-line has to do a much better job of handling the 49er D-line stunts. There were too many free rushers against Rodgers last game and he had no chance to throw the ball;

(3) We have to stop the 49er rushing attack and put the ball into Garappolo's hands. Garappolo throws interceptions;

(4) Win the turnover battle.

We are the underdog, but the underdogs have had a pretty good postseason so far.

Go Pack Go!

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stockholder's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:26 am

Defense wins championships. Beat Frisco with Defense! Shanahan talks BS. The Packers haven't gotten RESPECT from anyone. And they won't get any in Santa Clara. Expect the unexpected. No matter how sweet the talk. The Down and dirty always shows up. Their out to destroy the packers. This game isn't about doing the best you can. It's win at any costs.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:28 am

I have already seen so many writing off the Packers in this game. The one thing I would say is don't write off anyone. I'm pretty sure just about everyone gave Titans no shot of beating the Patriots and Baltimore. Look where they are at. This is a week to week league. Any team can win any week.

The last time the Packers played the 49ers, they couldn't have started the game any worse. They have a good first down run. Adams has a great catch on 2nd down to get a first down. Then he gets that weak Taunting Penalty, pushing them back 15 yards. 3 plays later on 3rd and long Rodgers gets sacked, fumbles it and 49ers recover at the 2. The game got away from them early, Bulaga got hurt early and the whole OL had their worst game of the season. Light struggled big time in that game. Batkhtiari had one of his worst games of the year.

The OL will be looking for redemption. Hopefully this time we won't be having Light playing.
Also, Adams is fully recovered from his injury. In Adams first 4 games back from injury (including the 49ers game) he had 27 catches for 266 yards (9.9 avg), 3 TD's. In the last 4 games he has played in he has 35 catches for 472 yards (13.5 avg) and 4 TD's.

Since that game the defense has been much better. They have moved Za'Darius around and he has been a terror! Against the Seahawks he had 11 pressures and 2 sacks.

Since the Packers have played the 49ers they are 6-0. The 49ers are 4-2. Its interesting that in the last 3 games that these teams have played, they have played 2 common opponents. Vikings and Seahawks. In week 16 the Packers played at the Vikings and won 23-10. The 49ers just played the Vikings at home and won 27-10. In week 17 the 49ers played at the Seahawks and won 26-21. Packers just played them at home and won 28-23. I know you can't take a singular game and come up with any conclusion of how teams will play against each other. I just find it interesting that against both teams the Packers and 49ers had very similar scores in each game. What I think this means is it will be a lot closer then most want to think.

I'm ready for this game!

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PackfanNY's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:34 am

No doubt the Packers have a steep hill to climb on Sunday. As always, in these big games the first key is, I think they need to survive the initial “wave”. In the first game, which of course was a “big” game, the fumble early in the game by Rodgers really set the tone. Pretty much all down hill from there. You might also recall the silly penalty call on Devante Adams that pushed the field possession back. Hopefully, they don’t make those mistakes again. Agree with the call or not, need to control emotions early. Expect them to come out flying.

The second key, which really is part of the first is the play of the Offensive line. They need to limit mistakes. Crowd noise, of course will be a factor. Can’t let that d-line control the line of scrimmage.

On our side, early on, I hope we go to some quick, shorter tempo plays until they get there feet on the ground.

Hey, I expect a good game. Pack keeps it close the pressure shifts to the Niners. Most are expecting them to not only beat the Pack but to whip them and probably win the SB. Let’s force Garroppolo into a tight game where he needs to beat us and not coast on his defense. Big challenge.

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Lphill's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:35 am

2 tight end sets, slants and screens , all hard to defend will be the formula.

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TXCHEESE's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:48 am

This has got to be a ball control, field position game. Protect the ball and keep it close till the 4th quarter then, let the chips fall. I'm not saying you don't take a shot a few times, but I don't think the Packers can win chucking it all over the place either. SF is supremely talented and they will get their pressures and/or sacks if given enough opportunities. As long as they don't give SF short fields, I believe the defense can keep SF from running away with it early.

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Tarynfor12's picture

January 14, 2020 at 08:57 am

Saying Garoppolo looked average is as false a statement made, especially since it was obvious that Garoppolo didn't need to throw the ball. If, we run the ball like SF did against the Vikings would any here accuse Rodgers of being average because of it.

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Pack88's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:01 am

If I could foretell the future I would be a rich man and Vegas would be looking to have me hit, however with that disclaimer it was only a few years ago that Green Bay had its A__ handed to them on National TV and when they arrived at the NFC Championship game against the same opponent every one expected a blowout loss. Now we remember that game for Bosticks FU but how many remember the prelude to the game - the big loss on opening night etc. So I don't know the future but I suspect GB will play better- will it be enough- who knows but Minny hung in for a very competitive 1st half and no matter what the blowhards believe Rodgers is light years ahead of Cousins so if the Packers keep it close I like our chances.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:21 am

Don't worry. I have it from the folks over at ninersnation that the refs will tilt the field for the Packers so the NFL can have a Superbowl I rematch for their 100th season.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:24 am

Good. So they are going to throw a cheap taunting penalty on the 49ers this time. Not on the Packers?

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Cubbygold's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:41 am

Or a completely made up offensive pass interference call?

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murf7777's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:28 am

We win because.....MLF will trust Aaron Rodgers to win this game and put it into his hands. Can’t play traditional run on first down because SF put 7-8 in the box. Have to pressure their DB’s that is the weakness in their D!

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flackcatcher's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:08 am

Ha Ha. Did that when the Packers played the Niners first time around. I for one do not want to see Rodgers be one with the grass for this game too.

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Chevy572rat's picture

January 14, 2020 at 05:57 pm

I agree murf7777. Our o-line needs, has to, protect AR. If they give him a little time, I think AR can do some damage on their secondary. MLF has to use Jones and Williams in the passing game too. If we start having some success there, the box will have to loosen up and the run game can start to contribute also. I personally like that the Packers lost so badly to this team earlier, because now everyone is going to be hungry for revenge and respect. We all know that every ESPN, Fox Sports, or Bleacher Report EXPERT has the Niners already in the Superbowl. Let's prove them WRONG !! PLAY LIKE CHAMPIONS !!!!!! GO PACK !!!!!!!

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Cubbygold's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:34 am

A couple of big changes have been mentioned relative to the last time GB played SF:

- GB won't have Light on the field. Hopefully Bulaga is back and Veldheer is a capable backup.

- Last game in SF, Adams had 43 yards receiving and Jamaal Williams had 35. Next best was Allison with 9 whole yards. With Adams recovering from injury and playing out of his mind with Rodgers, that's a big boost. So too is a (hopefully) healthy and productive Lazard. Having a viable #2 would be a big help, and none of the other receivers are going to be that option.

- Special teams can play a big role too. Tremon Smith was the PR in that game (-3 yards), and Scott only averaged 37 yards/punt.

- Unfortunately, SF was considered pretty beat up going into that week and are more healthy as well.

- GB also lost the turnover battle, committing the only turnover, which was a huge fumble that basically gifted them a 7-0 start.

If GB can win the turnover battle, have significantly improved play out of #1 and #2 WRs relative to the last matchup, and protect the QB better, GB stands a chance.

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Since'61's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:39 am

The last time that the Packers played the 49ers they lost the LOS on both sides of the ball. The 49ers played much faster than the Packers. The fact is that the 49ers have more speed than the Packers.

For the Packers to win they need to keep the game close especially early in the game. This means solid ball control drives without penalties or turnovers. If they win the toss they should take the ball and drive for a score to take the crowd out of the game and put some pressure on Garrapolo. He is prone to mistakes when under pressure. The Packers OL must play better especially in the run game. 2 TE sets should help but that limits options in the passing game. Ervin bings some speed and he should be utilized in the both the run and passing games. Lazard if available could be a key factor in this game since the 49ers will look to take away Jones and Adams.

Defensively we need to make the 49ers one dimensional although they have plenty of weapons in their passing game. Therefore, pressure on Garapolo will be critical. Generating turnovers will be huge and we'll need to win the TO battle.

60 minutes of our best football of the season will be required. No letups, penalties or turnovers. We have a shot bu we need to keep this game under control and hopefully play with a lead or at least keep it close and make a big play at the end. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since '61

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dobber's picture

January 14, 2020 at 10:41 am

I this hits it pretty well. Packers will need to match the 9ers intensity out of the gate: if you watch SF, they're physical and they play to--and a step past--the whistle. They beat on teams.

Keep the game close. SF's record this season in 1-score games this season is 5-3. It means that nobody blew them away , but it also means that if you can keep it close, you can beat them. Maybe it also means that they're due to lay an egg...think Vikings in the NFCCG in 2000 when they got blasted 41-0 by the Giants. Maybe that game does't compare well to this one, but it's nice to think about it.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:35 am

With you and Dobber on this. No secrets here for either team. I would call the 49ers more quick than fast overall. They do have serious weakness, but every team has them in this league. But the Niners are a well coached team who plays within their strengths. Last game Packers went for a classic vertical game plan, and Rodgers paid for it. (Back to back with the Chargers, I chalked it up to coaching inexperience on MLF part.) A good part of this was the offense finding an identity during the season, then adjusting their players in the scheme. All season this team has been underrated and we've seen the Packers overcome to win. That kind of mental toughness is something that develops as the season rolls along and can not be understood till it shows up game time. Do not underrate this team chances next Sunday. They are playing Championship football, and that is rare.

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SteelyPhil's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:46 am

I love this team!!! It's such a great time to be a Packers fan.

I agree that it's more likely than not that the Packers lose in Santa Clara and I'm already steeling myself for the possibility (especially since I'm an SF local and will be watching the game with a bunch of Niners fans), but it's been such a wild ride this year and I think the future is bright for this squad regardless of the outcome. For rookie HC Matt LaFleur (and Brian Gutekunst) to take a team with a losing record last year and take them to 14-3 record and the NFCCG is nothing short of incredible. Almost no one (myself included) thought we would be this good this year.

That said, let's go win this one and bring home a title :-). If the Titans can stun New England and Baltimore in consecutive weeks, then we can definitely beat this Niners team. I agree with Cory in that I expect this game to play out very differently from last time, regardless of outcome. This team looks and plays differently than they did in November.

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Dragon5's picture

January 14, 2020 at 10:37 am

SEA showcased vs SF that RB quick-outs to the flat were quite successful, chain-moving strikes. Despite Favre's gunslinger mentality, he frequently utilized screens and check downs to Levens & Bennett that aided his MVP trifecta. If Rodgers embraces check down mentality that has extended Brady's career with 6 Super Bowls wins in 9 appearances, #12 may be basking in Miami in a couple weeks.

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splitpea1's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:25 am

For the most part, San Francisco's divisional opponents have at least played them competitively. So hopefully the coaching staff is busy dissecting those six games and finding ways the Packers can do the same. I'm hoping the bad loss we had earlier was mainly due to a lack of familiarity, and that this time we will be ready for this very fast defense we will be up against. Also, another receiver is going to need to step up big time, as Davante is going to draw Sherman--maybe MVS? On defense, take away the middle of the field from Garoppolo--that's mostly where he succeeds.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 14, 2020 at 12:17 pm

As I remember Packers were lost heavily at Arizona in the regular season 2009 and almost win in playoff. They also lost at Atlanta in regular 2010 season but very convincingly win in the playoff at the same place... There is no reason why they can not repeat this year.

I admit SF is really one of the best teams in NFL at the moment, but if you want to be the best you have to win other excellent teams...

EDIT: And that season Packers won Bears 10 to 3...

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pacman's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:53 am

Garoppolo matches up similarly to AR in stats. But he is certainly no Wilson scrambling. So we should be able to contain him and D should hold up. Everything comes down to our offense - can it carry it's share this week as it did last week.

AR has to carve up the rush like he used to. Last week, he showed us that he could get the ball out of his hands quickly and not force the long ball. Here's his chance to show us again why he gets paid the big $.

Nobody is going to give GB much of a chance in this game.
Perfect time for the upset.
Then AR will really deserve a scotch!

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2020 at 11:58 am

Of course we can win this game and as many of you pointed out, some fundamentals need to occur:

- Get out to a fast start (hey - it beat the Seahawks)
- Win the LOS - run or get run over
- Make Garoppolo play under pressure
- Stop Kittle
...

Given that I hope our players play up to potential, I'll add my key to winning
- out coach the 49ers

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jlc1's picture

January 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm

I guess I believe with doubts. Too many matchups n SF's favor and then there is Kittle who is a game wrecker the equal of Russell Wilson. So I think the Pack needs at least a plus 2 TO differential to get out with a win. Go Pack Go!

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PatrickGB's picture

January 14, 2020 at 01:07 pm

“ - Unfortunately, SF was considered pretty beat up going into that week and are more healthy as well.” Thats why we will suffer another beat down. They are flying high right now and we are still struggling after a physical battle on Sunday. Matt’s brother and friends on the SF staff know how to out coach him and we really don’t have more than Adams at receiver and they will be prepared to shut down Jones like they did Cook.

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Adorabelle's picture

January 14, 2020 at 01:10 pm

The packers have the luxury of saying the performance against the 49ers the first time was SO bad that they can just ignore it. They wouldn't have beaten any NFL team that week. That happens at times. The 49ers themselves lost to Atalanta at home so a bad game happens. Its a week to week league and that was a bad week.

That said this is still a tough matchup. The 49ers run it and like to throw in the middle which is where the Packers weakness lies. On offense they will need to protect and scheme some openings for quick throws.

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Rossonero's picture

January 14, 2020 at 01:11 pm

Rex Ryan made a good point on ESPN's "Get Up!" show that during the 2010 regular season, the Jets got smashed 45-3 on Monday Night Football by the Patriots.

Then in the Division Playoffs, the Jets upset New England 28-21. Ryan got his team fired up -- they played angry. They had been humiliated and embarrassed. He said Belichick ran up the score on them.

While I can't see LaFleur taking the same approach as Ryan, he has to find SOMETHING to motivate his team and fire them up. There is plenty of billboard material out there about how the Packers have no chance to win, that the game won't even be close, etc. etc.

sidenote: Mike Pettine was Ryan's DC during the 2010 season, so we have someone inside the building who can speak firsthand to the players about how to comeback from this.

While we will get Bulaga back, the Niners will be getting back Emmanuel Sanders, Dee Ford and Joe Staley. I expect that Aaron Jones won't find much running room, but LaFleur must try to get him involved in the passing game on screens, slants or even downfield. Perhaps he can be our WR2.

We've got to get the ball to our playmakers. I know Richard Sherman will be on Davante Adams, but he can still get open, even on the soon-to-be 32 year old Sherman.

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porupack's picture

January 14, 2020 at 02:19 pm

GB will just have to do some tricks and stunts early to rattle 49ers. I'd do a KR lateral, aka music city miracle. That isn't particularly risky considering the sideline for any missed throws, so risk reward is pretty decent. That would serve 49ers to factor the unexpected right from opening KO if GB can open up with a great return and field position.

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LeotisHarris's picture

January 14, 2020 at 04:42 pm

I like our chances against the big bad 49ers because all of the pressure is on them. They crushed us before, they're at home, and Kyle the Genius is simply too damn smart for MLF. And, AND the Green Bay Packers are *the worst* 14-3 team in the history of the NFL. We're not supposed to be in the NFC Championship. We don't belong on the same field as these guys. John Lynch has hit a home run putting this team together (never mind he started on third base) and he shall reap his rewards with a Super Bowl win!

Remember when Holmgren led the Pack out to SF and we finally got past those asshats? Remember that pregame talk? I can't recreate it verbatim, but he basically said "you don't win by deception, or trick plays... you win by going out and kicking the other guy's ass!" I remember the swagger Craig Newsome had after an early big hit, and Chmura's glare at the crowd after a TD. That's what I hope to see on Sunday. I want to see a team that doesn't belong, led by a rookie head coach go into the other guy's place and kick their asses.

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Chevy572rat's picture

January 14, 2020 at 06:21 pm

I agree LeotisHarris, the pressure really is on them. Everyone has already given them the game, they crushed us earlier in the season, we don't belong in this game, etc, etc. I hope we play loose with some attitude for respect. To be honest, none of us thought we would be here already THIS YEAR !! But we are, and I don't think we're quite done yet !!!!!!!!!!

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4zone's picture

January 14, 2020 at 04:59 pm

Ya know what, I think I'm just gonna sit back and see how it all plays out. The Packers have earned their ticket to this game, and all that's left is playing it.

Thanks for all the hard work this season guys, and all the best to ya come Sunday!

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:15 pm

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 14, 2020 at 07:16 pm

Any one of those three may get injured by halftime. Staley has to worry about Za and Fackerell coming at him with stunts. Will Sanders have his speed to clear the CBs? Kwon Alexander is the guy you worry about and Warner. Lindsley and Turner have to be on the top of their game or better to control the middle pressure. Hopefully Vitale and Williams can stone some blitzers in pass pro.

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Tedlyflyfisher's picture

January 14, 2020 at 09:42 pm

Agree about wanting lots of slants and quick passes. I also want to see a more up tempo offense. It really puzzles me that we haven’t done that more, because it seems whenever we do we move the ball. And the defense gets gassed.

Stopping Kittle will be easier said than done. We MUST take advantage of any turnover opportunities.

Hoping to see a few touches for Big Dog, Swervin’ Ervin and Jamaal Williams. And those multiple tight end sets can make a big difference. Hopefully Lazard will be healthy for the game and make a big splash, too. Go Pack, GO!

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