January 9th, 2013
The Packers travel to San Francisco to meet the 49ers on Saturday at 8:00 ET on NBC. Who will win? You can decide with the help of some keys to success for both squads.
Why the Packers will win:
1. A-Rod: QB Aaron Rodgers had another MVP-caliber season but it was overshadowed by the more flashy stories of Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. He was the most efficient starting QB in the NFL with a 108.0 passer rating, throwing for the second most TDs (39) and just eight interceptions.
2. KUUUHHHHNNN!: Against one of the most dangerous pass-rushes, the most important weapon can be the fullback and there are few FBs out there better than John Kuhn. Add in his ability to punch in short yardage TDs (he had two in the WIld Card game) and he's an X-factor you won't want to overlook.
3. Sack-tastic: The Packers had the second-most sacks in the NFL this season with 51, led by LB Clay Matthew's 13 sacks. With an inexperienced QB on the other side, the Packers will force some quick decisions and probably a few mistakes.
Why the 49ers will win:
1. Big Men on Defense: The 49ers defense allowed the second fewest yards per game in the regular season and posted 41 sacks. The defense is led by sack-machine Aldon Smith who brought QBs down with 19.5 sacks this season.
2. Gore!: RB Frank Gore had another impressive season rushing for 1,214 yards with 4.7 yards per carry. The 49ers will need to rely on the power run game to beat the Packers D.
3. X-Factors: This is more of an "if." If QB Colin Kaepernick can stay calm and use WR Michael Crabtree in space, this game will be much easier. We'll finally see what "Kap" is made of.