In keeping with The Who theme, it is onward and upward to the Frozen Tundra. The field that Curly built. Lambeau Field. In the great white you-betcha! At some point in my life I’d love to go see a game there, but anyhow, the Forty Niners are going back to Green Bay for their latest edition of Beat the Pack.
Beyond the fact that the Niners are being penalized for playing in a strong division, and the Packers are rewarded for playing in a shitty one, winning in Lambeau is always a challenge. In what has been a one-sided affair recently, the Niners are 3-0, including the last 2 seasons’ opening day wins (one here, one at Lambeau) and the playoff win early this year. Before that? Well, 1-13 between 1996 and 2010. One of course being the Owens Owens Owens game. The teams split the rest as they alternated between being dominant (GB in the 60s, Niners in the 80s) to doormats (GB in the 70s, Niners in the 60s). Overall GB leads 34-29. Time to get #30.
Truth be told, Green Bay shouldn’t even be here. Deetroit had a clear shot to the NFC North, as did Chicago. Both failed miserably. Meanwhile Green Bay staggered through their game without Aaron Rodgers, and got him back just in time to win the decider last weekend with the Bears, who went 3-5 to close the season. GB meanwhile went 2-5-1 without Rodgers, and Deetroi famously went 2-6 to blow the division. So, blame Jim Schwartz for the fact that we are playing outside this Sunday.
About the game. Well, I hope this one will be easier than the last couple. Green Bay does not scare me at all on defense. Sister Golden Hair is out with a thumb (!) injury, and they stop neither the run or the pass very well. The Niners famously ran all over them in the playoffs last year, and alternated that by passing all over them opening day. Green Bay’s strength used to be creasting turnovers, but this year they are -3.
The only new wrinkle that Green Bay has is on offense. That is rookie phenom RB, Eddie Lacy. He of the 1200 yards rushing, and 4.1 average. Aaron Rodgers of course is Aaron Rodgers. So the Niners need to do a better job of getting pressure on him. I’m hoping these last 2 games for the Niners were attempts to try different schemes regarding pressure. If not, we are in trouble. Atlanta and AZ have both been notoriously bad at protecting their QBs, yet the Niners generated 2 sacks on 98 passing attempts. This cannot happen with Rodgers no matter the weather.
The Niners of course stop the run well, and their pass defense has been great all year. But as noted, their most recent games they have been torched through the air. They didn’t give up a 300 yard game since game 1 and Aaron, but gave up 341 and 399 to Ryan and Palmer respectively. Palmer!
The good news is we seem to match up well with Green Bay with our base defense. The Niners only got 2 sacks in week 1 but Rodgers was harassed all game, and completed 56% of his passes. Kappy on the other had went for 70%. I don;t thin the game goes like the early game this year. I think the Niners can wear down Green Bay’s defense, and keep Rodgers from going too crazy. I’m thinking something like 31-20.