Aaron Rodgers and the Packers continue their revenge tour this season as they enter the semi-final round of the NFL playoffs. he Packers welcomed the Seahawks to a snowy Lambeau Field in the divisional round and advanced on a 28-23 win. The victory over the Seahawks won’t completely rid the demons of the Packers’ 2014 NFC Championship loss, but it sure does help.
The Packers head into San Francisco to show that week 12 was just a fluke. They look to get revenge on the 49ers. No, I am not talking about the 49ers taking Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers or the Packers’ first loss to them in week 12. I am talking about getting revenge for the two times the 49ers have defeated Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the playoffs. Both teams are extremely different since the last time they played each other in 2013, but playoff losses stick with a team.
The latest matchup in week 12 did not go the Packers’ way. The 49ers jumped to an early lead due to turnovers and lack of execution, which led to the Packers scoring only one touchdown. The 37-8 loss for the Packers was one of the worst of the season. The Packers look to change things during this meeting and show they are a Super Bowl team. Here is how the Packers can beat the 49ers.
Get Their Flu Shot:
The Packers came into the game against the Seahawks with the flu going around their locker room. Not every Packer used Jamaal Williams’ positive energy method of avoiding sickness and were questionable for the game.
All-Pro RT Bryan Bulaga was the biggest name that contracted the flu, and after a brief attempt to play the game he sat out. The Packers will need him to regain health to go against the 49ers. They have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and showed that with their 5 sack performance in week 12 against the Packers. Bulaga missed that game as well and back up Alex Light tried his best, but could not fill the shoes the Bulaga left for him. The Packers will need their Right Tackle back if they want the best chance of winning.
Davante Adams Keeps Rolling:
Adams showed that he is still one of the top receivers in the NFL in the last few weeks of the season. In his first performance against the 49ers week 12, he was held to 7 receptions on 12 targets and 43 yards receiving. Adams did, however, earn his first touchdown of the season this game. Since that game Adams has only had 40 yards receiving once and averaged 96 yards per game and one touchdown per game.
Adams had his best game of the season last week in their playoff matchup against the Seahawks. He hauled in two touchdowns and 160 yards. Not to mention Adams made big plays on 3rd down to keep the chains and the clock moving. The Packers went 1-15 against the 49ers on 3rd down conversions the first game, so Adams will need to provide the same spark next week. The 49ers showed they are susceptible to the pass game against the Falcons this year. The 49ers gave up 134 yards and two touchdowns to Julio Jones. Davante Adams might not be Julio Jones, but he has the potential to reach that level.
The Packers will need to continue to find Adams, allow him to make plays for the team, and open up the running game. If the Packers big three show up (Rodgers, Jones, and Adams) there is not a defense that can stop them. Can the 49ers slow it down? Of course. Can they stop it? No.
Eliminate the Big Plays:
The Packers defense dominates offenses regularly, but they are not without flaws. One of the biggest flaws against the Packers’ defense is that they tend to give up the big plays. Against the 49ers, the defense allowed a 61-yard touchdown to Kittle, a 42-yard touchdown to Deebo Samuel, and 37 of Mosert 67 yards on two plays. The Packers defense held the “bend don’t break” mentality all season long, but if they are allowing big plays to happen, they will not be able to pull out a victory.
Pressure Jimmy G:
The Packers defensive line, led by the Super Smith Bros, dominated the Seahawks last week. The Packers pressured Wilson on over 50% of his dropbacks and managed to bring him down five times. Russell Wilson is known as being one of the hardest quarterbacks to sack in the NFL. This week the Packers will be going against a quarterback who does not have the mobility of Wilson, so if they can provide that pressure it will be a game-changer.
The last matchup they managed three sacks, but the defense was not as hot as they are now. Jimmy G is starting in the playoffs for the first time this season, and the Packers have the weapons to create chaos in the backfield. If they can rush his throws, they will have chances to create impactful turnovers. Another big bonus to creating pressure is slowing down their genetically modified monster of a tight end. The Packer will not be able to eliminate Kittle completely, but forcing Jimmy G to get the ball out of his hands quickly, could limit his impact.
Get Aaron Jones Going:
Aaron Jones is a nightmare for opposing defenses. This season Jones put up career highs in touchdowns, rushing yards, and receiving yards. There is an argument made that Jones is now the most important Aaron on the Packers. Jones helped the Packers to victory last week with 61 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Packers will need him to improve on his 38 yards in the previous matchup against the 49ers. The Packers should have confidence when looking at the 49ers game against the Seahawks this year. Chris Carson finished the game 89 yards and a touchdown behind a much less talented offensive line.
Adams’s dominance over the past few games could help Aaron Jones get going in the passing attack as well. The 49ers held Jones to zero receptions in week 12, and the Packers will need that to change if they want to head to Miami this season.
Whether the Packers or 49ers win this week, one thing for sure is that it will be a good game. Both teams have shown they are the best in the NFC and are ready to fight for their spot in the Super Bowl. The Packers head into San Francisco, or rather the stadium over an hour outside San Francisco, as a 7.5 point underdog to the #1 seeded 49ers. The Packers will need to play their best game of the season to pull off the upset, but they have all the talent to do so.