NFC Wild Card
(5) 49ers at (4) Packers
49ers: For the third season under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers are in the playoffs. Despite being a wild card team, I still wouldn’t want to face this team in January because they know how to get hot at the right time. They are getting healthy at the right time as well. Kap has his go to guy in Crabtree back and on defense they have their most dynamic player back in Aldon Smith. This team is built to make a run in January because they run the ball, control the line of scrimmage and they play hard-hitting, physical defense. Don’t be surprised if this team is playing on the first Sunday in February in East Rutherford. The road to the Super Bowl for the defending NFC champs begins at Lambeau where they’ll see the Packers for the fourth time in less than two years.
Packers: The scenario was simple for the Packers. You win and you’re in the playoffs and they got two very key pieces back at the right time. Randall Cobb has become a very important part of the Packers offense because you can line him up on the outside, in the slot and in the backfield. He’s a very dynamic football player and of course you got Aaron back as well. The one negative though is no Clay Matthews, he injured his thumb and will be inactive for the playoffs. What’s really stood out to me about the Packers is that their ranked fifth in the league when it comes to running the football. Eddie Lacy has given them the balance they’ve needed offensively. For the second straight season, the Packers will have to battle the 49ers again in the playoffs.
Prediction: The biggest x factors for the 49ers will be Anquan Boldin and Frank Gore. Anquan will see his fair share of one on one opportunities and he will be targeted in the red zone a good portion of the time. Frank Gore is one of the more underappreciated running backs in the game today. He isn’t necessarily the flashiest back in the league but he comes to work every Sunday and makes something happen every time he touches the football. The Packers have to limit Kap’s ability to run and make him a pocket passer. They need to be more aware of him because the last time these two teams played, Green Bay put no pressure on him and he had a big day. I like the 49ers in this one. 49ers 24 Packers 21