San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay Packers vs SF 49ers Wild Card Weekend Preview

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Going into Monday November 4th’s divisional game with the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers were sitting on a 5-2 record looking like a team that was going to make a serious run at home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Aaron Rodgers brought the Packers down the field on the opening drive and then settled for a field goal after being sacked by Shea McClellin. After that sack Rodgers went to the locker room and never came back in the game. The Packers fought the whole game, but ended up losing 27-20 when the defense couldn’t make a stop to give Seneca Wallace a chance to tie the game. The result of the game was bad, but the news on Rodgers was worse. Rodgers had a fractured collarbone and was expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Rodgers ended up missing 7 games and the Packers went 2-4-1 over those 7 games. Rodgers came back against the Bears in week 17 and lead the Packers on a 4th quarter touchdown drive that put the Packers into the playoffs thanks to a TON of help from the Bears and Detroit Lions.

* Lions finished the season by going 1-6 (including losses to TB Buccaneers, NY Giants and the Minnesota Vikings)

* Bears finished the season 3-5 after the win against the Packers on November 4th

The Packers are going to miss Jolly's run stopping ability

The Packers are going to miss Jolly’s run stopping ability

That is how we got to the Green Bay Packers winning the NFC North and hosting the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The 49ers have beat the Packers pretty handily over the last 3 games; week 1 in 2012, NFC Wild Card playoffs 2012 and week 1 this year. The 49ers believe they own the Packers and it is easy to understand why. If you add in the fact that the Packers will be without the “playmaker” Clay Matthews and an important run stopper Johnny Jolly the 49ers should be favored and they are, by 2.5 points (the last I saw). What is it going to take for the the Packers to beat the 49ers on Sunday in sub-zero temperatures?

Keys to Winning

1. The Packers need to embrace the cold on Sunday. As of right now the forecast is called for a high of -6 and low of -20.  The players need to show that they are the ones that play in Green Bay and not let the 49ers get comfortable. The best case scenario would be to win the coin toss, take the ball and put together a long opening drive and keep the 49ers offense on the sidelines trying to stay warm.

The Packers fans do not want to see Kaepernick doing this at Lambeau

The Packers fans do not want to see Kaepernick doing this at Lambeau

2. Stop Colin Kaepernick from running. Yes, Kapernick threw for over 400 yards in the week 1 match-up, but the weather is going to make it hard to pass and that will help the Packers defense. Without Jolly and Matthews the task of stopping Kaepernick is going to tough. AJ Hawk is going to have to step up even more than he has and have a career game. The defense is going to need to keep outside containment and stay in their lanes. This is going to be a tough task.

3. The Packers need to stick with the run and wear down the 49ers defense. Once the 49ers put an extra man in the box the Packers can pull out the play action and have the 49ers guessing in the second half. Eddie Lacy and James Starks are a great 1-2 punch and they need to show it on Sunday. If the Packers can win the turnover battle, then they can win the game.

Player of the Game

AJ Hawk needs to have a career game

AJ Hawk needs to have a career game

For the Packers to win this game the defense is going to have to play a perfect game. AJ Hawk will need to be the leader he has been all season and more. I am not expecting the one handed interception like he had against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I expect a forced fumble, double digit tackles and a sack.

Prediction

The winner of the game between the 49ers and Packers will go to the Super Bowl. I see a low scoring game with the Packers pulling out the victory 24-20.

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Green Bay Packers Release Kick Returner Jeremy Ross

via Packers.com

The Green Bay Packers have released WR Jeremy Ross. The transaction was announced Monday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.

Ross played in eight regular-season games over the past two seasons for the Packers. He averaged 17.9 yards on nine kickoff returns, 20.5 yards on six punt returns and made one catch for 8 yards.

The fact that Ross even had a job after that fumble in the playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers is was crazy to me. That fumble caused the Packers to lose the game. Ross has never been explosive like Randall Cobb

Jeremy Ross fumble vs the 49ers in the playoffs last season

Jeremy Ross fumble vs the 49ers in the playoffs last season

and has made more mistakes than good plays. I understand why they didn’t want to keep Cobb as a return man, but you have to try and win the games any way possible! Not sure if Cobb is going to take over the return duties or if Jonathan Franklin is going to get a chance, but the Packers need to figure this out. Thankfully we are in a bye week in week 4.

Good luck to Ross on the rest of his career, but if your only job is to return kicks and you can’t even do that, who knows where your career will go.

Seattle Seahawks Will Plant Under Cover Cops Wearing 49ers Jerseys in Their Stands

via SI.COM

RENTON, Wash. (AP) In an effort to weed out unruly fans, the Seattle Seahawks say they will have undercover police officers wearing opposing team apparel beginning with Sunday night’s highly anticipated matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Seahawks announced the plan Wednesday, saying the goal is to ensure a safe environment for all fans, including those supporting the visiting team.

The Seahawks say game day staff will intervene against unruly behavior, foul or abusive language and verbal and physical harassment of opposing team fans or stadium guests and staff members. Any fans asked to leave for violations of fan conduct will have to complete a four-hour online educational course at their own cost before they will be cleared to attend events at the stadium again.

This is brilliant! I can see the exchange now.

Sea Fan: “How’s it feel to get blown out again, you piece of sh*t?

SF Fan: “Actually it kind of sucks, but hey that’s the way it goes”

Sea Fan: “What kind of respond is that? The 49ers SUCK, Why don’t you go back to SF? (throws beer at SF Fan)

SF Fan: “You are under arrest”

Sea Fan: “Yeah ok, you are a 49er fan, no way in hell a cop is going to arrest me hahahaha”

SF Fan: (pulls out badge)

I’m sure it will be a lot more vulgar than that, but you get the idea. Here is a question though? Will they be able to get policemen to wear 49ers jerseys? Once the 49ers fan arrests a Seattle fan, does that policeman have his respect taken away? I think so, because if I am a cop in Green Bay there is no way in hell I am putting on a Bears jersey just to arrest a few unruly fans.

I also like the fact that someone who is kicked out of the stadium for unruly behavior is banned forever, but instead must take an anger management class at their own expense.

WOOSAH for days!

View from the Couch – Green Bay Packers 2013 Review

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The last two seasons in Green Bay have ended in disaster. In 2011 the Packers were dominated by the New York Giants after going 15-1 during the regular season and then in 2012 the Packers had the San Francisco 49ers against the ropes until a Jeremy Ross fumble turned the tide. The 49ers scored on the next play and never looked back. So Green Bay comes into 2013 with questions about whether they are too soft to make a playoff run. The Green Bay Packers look like the Indianapolis Colts that were lead by Peyton Manning, a great regular season team, but can’t get it done in the playoffs.

Offense

The Packers have the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers so they will always have a shot. The Packers run game was terrible last year. Coach Mike McCarthy addressed this in the draft by drafting Jonathon Franklin out of UCLA and Eddie Lacy out of Alabama. During the Seattle Seahawks preseason game Eddie Lacy showed what he is capable of doing to a defense. The Packers lost Dujuan Harris for the season with a knee injury so it will be up to Lacy to carry the running load. 

Aaron Rodgers has been sacked too many times the last few seasons and McCarthy planned on fixing that by moving Bryan Bulaga to left tackle, unfortunately Bulaga went down with a season ending injury and now rookie David Bakhtiari is in the role. Bakhtiari only let up one sack during the preseason and had a strong showing in training camp against Clay Matthews.

Rodgers has a plethora of teammates to throw the ball to. Randall Cobb is Percy Harvin 2.0, James Jones just scores and Jordy Nelson can just run away from anyone, but I am expecting a lot out of Jermichael Finley. The guy has all the tools, but has not put the huge season together that everyone has been expecting.

Defense

This run will forever be ingrained in my brain. The Packers let up 579 yards to the 49ers, including over 350 running yards in the playoff loss. There is no doubt the Packers have been working on how to stop the read option since that game ended. Matthews came out this week saying that their goal is to hit Kaepernick, but you can’t hit what you can’t catch. So with that being said the Packers drafted Datone Jones in the first round and get LB Nick Perry back. The biggest flaw on the Packer defense is lack of pass rush and tackling ability. You saw Adrian Peterson run all over them with a lot of broken tackles. If the Packers haven’t improved their tackling, I don’t see how they can make a Super Bowl run.

Special Teams

I am in shock that Mason Crosby is still in Green Bay. Crosby made a career low 63% of his field goals last season and should have lost his job then. Crosby beat out 2 other kickers with a strong preseason, but is his job safe? Only time will tell.

Predictions

Offensive Breakout – Cobb and Jones broke out last year and a lot of people are expecting even more from Cobb, but I expect Finley to have his best season as a Packer. The addition of Lacy is going to freeze the linebackers on play action and the middle of the field is going to be Finley’s to dominate.

Defensive Breakout – Micah Hyde is going to play a big part in stopping the read option. This is a rookie CB that has no problem putting his nose in a tackle. Hyde will end the season in the top 5 for tackles.

Record – NFC North Champions 11-5

Post Season – Loss in NFC Championship