Coming into the season, it was thought that the 49ers defense would be great, but eventually their lack of offensive firepower could catch up with them against teams that don’t struggle to put points on the board. That notion was dispelled somewhat with San Francisco’s 30-22 win over the Packers in Week 1.
Of course, it was Alex Smith starting that Week 1 game. In the time since, the 49ers discovered that Colin Kaepernick possesses more promise in the long-term, if not already more ability than Smith. However, if the 49ers lose this evening, you can guarantee there will be people raising the discussion of whether Jim Harbaugh was wrong to replace Smith, what with tiny hands already having defeated the Packers this season and having got the Niners deeper into the postseason the year before.
It’s hard to get a sense of where the Packers are at after last season. They almost didn’t even have an opponent. That’s how bad Joe Webb was. So you have to go back to their loss on the road in Minnesota in Week 17. Green Bay played well in that loss and now they have Charles Woodson back, but there will be definite chances for the Niners to put up some points. If Aaron Rodgers is on, that can be enough for Green Bay. Any contribution from the defense or the running game is just a bonus.
In things that don’t at all impact today’s game but are still fun to talk about: the Niners and the Packers had quite a postseason rivalry going in the ’90s, with Green Bay upsetting San Francisco in the second round on the road in 1995. The Packers beat the 49ers in the playoffs the followings two season, until they met once again in 1998 and this happened:
Oh yeah, that Jerry Rice fumble. The way fans get irate nowadays when a play can’t be reviewed, it’s hard to imagine a time when there were no reviews at all.
Anyway, Green Bay would later exact revenge for The Catch II, beating San Francisco in the Wild Card round after the 2001 season, but by then it was the Jeff Garcia era, which felt like a different, way more flamboyant era of Niners football. The teams renew their dormant playoff history each with a good chance of advancing to the Super Bowlif they win.