The San Francisco 49ers picked up a hard-fought victory over their long-time rivals the Dallas Cowboys in their Wild Card matchup. San Francisco won 23-17, as they took control of the game from the opening kickoff and never relinquished it.
The 49ers are now heading to take on one of their new rivals in the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were at home during Wild Card weekend, earning a bye and home-field advantage after finishing the season 13-4 as the No. 1 overall seed in the league.
The 49ers and Packers are no strangers, as they have faced off numerous times since Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur have taken over as the head coaches for their respective teams. There have been some close, down to the wire games in those matchups and this one shouldn’t be any different.
What can we expect to see from San Francisco? Here are three bold predictions for the 49ers in their Divisional Round matchup against the Packers.
3. Jimmy G Steps Up
There has been a lot of attention placed on 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He very well could be auditioning for future jobs as it has been reported that the organization is ready to hand the reins over to Trey Lance, their first-round pick from the 2021 NFL Draft.
Garoppolo wasn’t great against the Cowboys. He missed a few wide-open receivers that would have extended drives and threw one interception. The most egregious play was snapping the ball early before Trent Williams was set on the fourth and inches that would have iced the game.
The pressure will be on once again against the Packers this week. Garoppolo will rise to the occasion and not turn the ball over against Green Bay and will complete at least 65 percent of his passes in a clean performance.
2. Rush For 200+ Yards
There is one huge advantage that the 49ers have coming into this game and it is on the ground. The Packers aren’t good at stopping the run, but taking a deeper dive, you can see that the 49ers are an even worse matchup than other teams.
While their overall numbers aren’t great, the Packers are okay at stopping runs between the tackles. However, get outside on the edge and they struggle. The 49ers’ run offense is predicated on outside zone plays and they will find plenty of success against Green Bay.
Elijah Mitchell has cemented himself as the lead back while Deebo Samuel provides even more power and explosiveness when mixed in. They will run roughshod over the Packers and pile up more than 200 yards on the ground.
Last week against Dallas the 49ers ran the ball 38 times for 169 yards. They will find even more success this week against the Packers.
1. Keep Rodgers’ Losing Streak Alive
The 49ers and Packers have faced off three times in the postseason in Aaron Rodgers’ career. The 49ers have yet to lose against him in the playoffs, as they won all three games. Two of them were convincing, while the middle one was a walk-off field goal at the buzzer by Phil Dawson.
Two of them came at home for San Francisco and one was on the road. They will make it two of each after this weekend as they will pick up the upset victory at Lambeau Field again.
The 49ers match up well with the Packers and will exploit the advantages that they have. A successful run game will help them control the tempo and keep Rodgers and the Packers’ offense off the field.