The Green Bay Packers head to the West Coast this weekend to take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Playoffs. There are some who say that the San Francisco defense dictates the road to the Super Bowl will go through the Bay area. It’s too early to tell yet but they may have a point. San Francisco seems to me to have found the best of both worlds in their current incarnation, a stifling defense coupled with the excitement of a young, athletic, and unpredictable quarterback who can kill you with precision passes or stun you with his legs. Pretty nice situation to be in.
On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers ain’t too shabby either. Their current crop of wide receivers is chock full of potential game breakers backed up by solid and productive pass catchers. Under center they’ve got an NFL MVP who’s still stinging from last season’s heartbreak. This is also a grudge match of sorts as Green Bay seeks to redeem themselves from an early season loss in San Francisco. There’s an article on ESPN here, throwing out the fact that the Niners tend to use fewer rotations on their defense and that grinding out plenty of offensive plays against them may be a way to wear them down. That’s great if you can do it. But that means running the ball and that’s a pretty tall order.
Further down in that article you’ll find that if this game comes down to a field goal, neither team can be too comfortable. Akers problems have been well documented and Mason Crosby, well, he ain’t much better.
My take on the Packers vs 49ers is that it’s going to come down to a defensive battle. The Niners own that edge and the home field edge.