The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers – two traditional NFL teams that have been dueling since 1950. But especially in the last few years, it’s always turned out that San Francisco has always had the better cards, especially in the playoffs. Will it be the same this time – or will Aaron Rodgers overcome his trauma?
Attempt number four: Will Aaron Rodgers end his playoff trauma against the San Francisco 49ers?
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Since 1950, there have been duels between the proud Packers and the proud 49ers, who together have nine Super Bowl titles. While it is 4: 4 in a total of eight play-off comparisons, it is 34: 28: 1 per game. Green Bay in the “normal” matches. For that reason alone, it is worth looking at this hot comparison, which in this country rises at night from Saturday to Sunday (2.15 CET).
But modernity is much more crucial, more precisely in recent years and the very current football era – and this is where Aaron Rodgers immediately comes into focus. The cheese town “Gunslinger”, which got its only Super Bowl ring to date over ten years ago (31-25 against the Steelers in 2010-11), has played against San Fran three times in the playoffs – and lost every single game.
May 5, 202253:35 minutes
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The drama in three acts briefly summed up: If you count 31:45 in 2013 in the old traditional Candlestick Park (Divisionals), 20:23 in Lambeau only one season later (Wild Card) and the 20 that are still rooted in our thoughts: 37 2020 in the NFC final (0:27 behind in the beginning), then “A-Rod” has only five touchdowns with three interceptions. And that as a native of California who, as you know, actually expected to come to San Francisco in the 2005 draft.
“We are fine”
But not only that! In the preseason, the Niners are even said to have asked the Packers about a Rodgers deal after initially failing to speak out in favor of an early return to Green Bay, leaving room for speculation. Therefore, there should be some tension between the two head coaches Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur, even if the Niners coach downplays it. “We’re fine with each other,” Shanahan said in the run-up to this NFC cracker.
In any case, it’s clear that the Packers will be the favorites this year – and that’s not just because the game will be played at the infamous Lambeau Field in perhaps icy temperatures. On the contrary, “The Pack” has evolved under the young coach since 2019, it is thrown quickly (an average of 2.6 seconds after the snap), and at least 13 victories have been achieved three seasons in a row. And as such, the team has had a maximum of 13 turnovers three years in a row – a new record.
But that alone is not enough, the story of the last three playoff duels between these two teams comes again – and with that keyword running game. Each time, the Packers have failed because apart from errors in the attack (interceptions, fumbles, no or too few points), the defense has not been able to stop San Francisco’s run.
Most likely the most dangerous player of the powerful Niners: universal weapon Deebo Samuel.
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The biggest takeaway here: Kaepernick, who has not played in the league in many years, rushed 181 yards plus two touchdowns alone in the 2013 division round under the guidance of former NFL head coach Jim Harbaugh. Running back Frank Gore also added 199 yards and a score of 45:31. A year later in the Wild Card round, “Kaep” got nearly 100 yards – and by the 2020 NFC Finals, it was an incredible 220 yards including four touchdowns from the currently injured Raheem Mostert. San Fran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has only thrown eight times here (six come to 77 yards). And it is precisely these forces that the 49ers could now aim at again – above all with the universal weapon Deebo Samuel, which can really hurt any opponent. Green Bay should and must be prepared for this.
Or as Packers runner Aaron Jones puts it: “We’ve put so much work into this project for over two years now, and now it feels like the time has come.” You just have to be careful with the race of the Niners, the former kryptonite in Rodgers’ somewhat manageable play-off career with 21 games and only eleven wins and only one Super Bowl entry including triumph.
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