Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers NFL Predictions 1/12/13

Last Updated: January 6th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Green Bay PackersThe 2013 NFL playoff picks are going to be difficult to make, and in this one, the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers are set to do battle with one another. Check out our Packers vs. 49ers predictions and the keys to the game for Green Bay vs. San Francisco.

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#3 Green Bay Packers @ #2 San Francisco 49ers
Packers vs. 49ers Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
Packers vs. 49ers Date/Time: Saturday, January 12th, 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Packers vs. 49ers On TV: FOX

Key #1: Green Bay absolutely has to get a running game going
We have talked about this all season long for the Packers. They absolutely have to find a running game in the playoffs, or they aren’t going to win the Super Bowl. In the first meeting of the year between these two teams, Green Bay’s leading rusher was QB Aaron Rodgers, who rushed for 27 yards on five carries. RB Cedric Benson had just nine carries for 18 yards and was the only running back that touched the football. It was unbelievable to think that the team threw the ball 44 times (and was sacked three times) against just 14 runs. Rodgers has proven that he can get the job done against some of the elite defenses in the league, but in the end, all of the games that were won included a rushing attack. Against the Chicago Bears, Green Bay rushed for 113 yards in spite of the fact that no one had more than 35 yards on the ground. Against the Houston Texans, though Rodgers threw for six TDs, the ground game accounted for 99 yards on 31 carries. The average wasn’t great, but the yards were what was key. Same thing against the Bears the first time around this year. Green Bay had 106 rushing yards on 28 carries. Last week, Green Bay got away with not having a rushing game thanks to the fact that QB Joe Webb looked like a fish out of water. It won’t get that benefit this week against the 49ers.

Packers @ 49ers Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
Green Bay Packers +3
San Francisco 49ers -3
Over/Under 46.5
Click Here to Bet Your Packers vs. 49ers Picks!

Key #2: The moment can’t be too big for Colin Kaepernick
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh made one of the most controversial decisions that a coach has made this year when he benched QB Alex Smith and started QB Colin Kaepernick. Now, the franchise rests in Kaepernick’s hands. The team has had a mixed bag of results since the change. The club lost to the St. Louis Rams and was blown away by the Seattle Seahawks, but on the other hand, Kaepernick orchestrated road wins against both the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. Still, what Kaepernick hasn’t seen much of this year is a truly elite defense. He did put up a 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears, and granted, he has stood toe to toe with some fantastic offensive teams. However, the only great defense of a playoff team that he faced was that of the Seahawks, who beat him 42-13. The question here? Will we see the Kaepernick that really stunk up the join against St. Louis for a game and a half, or the one that tore apart the Patriots for four touchdowns a few weeks ago? It has to be the latter, not the former, or the Packers will sneak up on this team.

Key #3: The offensive lines have their work cut out for them
Both of these teams can rush the passer for sure, and what this game might come down to is which team can stop the other team’s superstar on the defensive side of the ball. LB Clay Matthews was a monster against the Minnesota Vikings last week, picking up two sacks and generally making life a living hell for backup QB Joe Webb. He now has 15 sacks in 13 games played this year. LB Aldon Smith picked up 19.5 sacks in his 16 games this year for the 49ers. When these two teams met the first time, about the only thing that kept Green Bay in the game is the fact that Matthews logged 2.5 sacks. Of course, on the other side of the ball, Smith had his first sack of the season, and that was one of the three sacks that the 49ers managed to pick up against Rodgers. These two offensive lines have some great potential, but they both have their hands full for sure to stuff up some of the best pass rushers that the entire NFL has to offer. Whichever does the better job protecting their quarterback will clearly be on the inside track to victory.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Sunday, January 6th, 2013 @ 6:39 pm (EST)
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