Colin Kaepernick gets his first postseason start. Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com/Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Mission accomplished in the Wild Card playoff against Minnesota, as Green Bay kept Vikings star Adrian Peterson to just 99 yards on the ground in their 24-10 win. Next assignment is keeping quiet San Francisco’s juggernaut Frank Gore . He bulldozed the Packers for 112 yards on just 16 carries in Week One at Lambeau Field, as the Niners triumphed 30-22 . If he cuts a swathe through the Pack ‘D’ just as easily on Sunday (AEDT), then it could be a long day for the Cheeseheads in the stands at Candlestick Park.
That’s one issue for the Packers’ much maligned defence to handle, but they also have to deal with the mobility of San Fran quarterback Colin Kaepernick . They handled speedy Vikings QB Joe Webb well at the weekend in the 24-10 Wild Card win, but Kaepernick is a different kettle of fish as he is a far better passer of the football. He is also a completely different proposition to Alex Smith, who performed well when the Niners beat the Packers at the start of the season. If they can’t keep the young QB in the pocket for most of the game, then he has the potential to terrorise Green Bay with his footspeed.
There’s plenty of pressure on the Packers’ defence, but probably even more is lumped on their offensive line. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 51 times this season, and in the past fortnight, Minnesota racked up eight sacks across their two games against Green Bay. The Niners have one of the best pass rushers in the league in the form of outside linebacker Aldon Smith. San Fran kept Rodgers relatively quiet in their only meeting this season (two TDs and an interception, but he has been red-hot of late, throwing for 13 touchdowns without an interception.
Rodgers will hope his wideouts are healthy come Sunday. Randall Cobb has a hamstring issue, while Jordy Nelson is carrying a knee injury, although both are expected to play. He’ll also hope fullback John Kuhn has a nose for the end zone this week as he did against the Vikes when he crossed for two touchdowns. Niners tight end Vernon Davis is questionable due to a concussion sustained against Seattle just before Christmas.
If there’s one team that won’t be intimidated playing away from home in the postseason, it’s Green Bay. When the Pack won the Super Bowl two years back, they won three road games on the way to the big dance. Prior to the defeat in the season opener, Green Bay had won 13 of the previous 14 encounters with San Francisco, including three straight victories travelling to the west coast.
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