Divisional Round: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Divisional Round: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

The second game in the NFL Divisional Round takes place on Saturday night with the Green Bay Packers traveling to take on the NFC’s number one seed, San Francisco 49ers. The Packers are the number seven seed and coming off a Texas-sized win against the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 48-32. Was it a really great showing by Green Bay and Quarterback, Jordan Love (16/21, 272 yards and 3 TDs), or was it a complete implosion on the part of Dallas and their defense, who had given up 30 points or more only three times during the regular season (to San Fran, Seattle, and Buffalo)? Let’s take a downfield read and dissect if the Packers are a fluke, or if they are for real.

Green Bay Packers (10-8):

As mentioned before, Jordan Love looked like…a former Packers MVP quarterback who shall remain nameless…against the 12-5 Cowboys in their Wild Card game. During the regular season, Love was…alright, and his play matched their 9-8 record. While Love was second in the league with 32 passing TDs, and threw for 4,159 yards (7), he was also tied for 18th in taking sacks (30), and 27th in pass completion (64.2%). Twenty-nine-year-old running back, Aaron Jones was mediocre at best during the eleven games that he played in the regular season, tallying 656 rushing yards (36) and two rushing TDs, while averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 59.6 yards per game. Against Dallas, Jones reeled off 118 yards on 21 carries (5.6 yards per carry) for three touchdowns. Jones literally had more rushing TDs against the Cowboys in that one game than he did in the entire eleven games that he played prior! To put that into even more perspective, the Packers other RB, A.J. Dillon also had only two TDs in the 15 games that he played in! Jordan Love finished the regular season with just as many rushing TDs as Dillon and Jones COMBINED!

The Packers have the youngest team in NFL playoff history. In no other position is that more prevalent than in the Wide Receiver crew, where they don’t have an active WR on their roster older than 24 years old. Even then, it’s just Christian Watson, who played in only nine regular season games, and Bo Melton who has 16 receptions for 218 yards. Green Bay’s top WR is Jayden Reed with 64 receptions (T48), for 793 receiving yards (42) and eight TDs (T8). Behind him is Romeo Doubs with 59 receptions (T57) for 674 receiving yards (55), and eight TDs (T8). If you take away the eight touchdowns that each one of them has, this isn’t a very impressive receiving corp. As a whole, the GB offense averages 233.5 passing yards per game (12), 112 rushing yards per (15), and 22.5 points per game (12).

Defensively, it doesn’t look much better for the Pack. Especially because at this point (Thursday the 18th), they have eight players that are listed as Questionable, and one that is listed as Doubtful. Linebacker, Rashan Gary leads the team with nine sacks (T28), followed by fellow Linebacker, Preston Smith with eight sacks (T37), and Defensive End, Kenny Clark with 7.5 sacks (T46). Green Bay has 45 sacks total (16), while giving up 206.5 passing yards per game (9), and 128.5 rushing yards per game (28), which is the worst of any current playoff team. Their turnover differential during the season was a net zero (T16) while only getting seven interceptions (31) and 18 total takeaways (23), while giving the ball up 18 times, which is tied for sixth worst in the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers (12-5):

First off, I just want to say that in the preseason, I predicted the outcome of the NFC West almost exactly! I was off by only one game with the Rams and one by the Seahawks. ANYWAY, the 49ers have arguably the best overall offense of teams that are still in the playoffs. The only other team that you could actually debate is the Detroit Lions, who they may just see in the following week. San Fran racks up 398.5 yards (2) and put up 29 points per game (3), which is the best for current playoff teams. They average 258 yards through the air (4), and 140.5 on the ground (3). The 49ers are a highly efficient offense lead by Quarterback, Brock Purdy, who led the league in QBR (72.7) and Passer Rating (118). Purdy was third in the league with 31 TDs, fifth in passing yards (4,280) and pass completion (69.4%), and really should be talked about in the MVP running. He’s better than Jackson, better than Mahomes, better than Josh Allen, and better than Dak. Purdy IS the best QB in the NFL.

Purdy’s “partner in points” is Running Back, Christian McCaffrey, who could also be talked about in the MVP conversations. CMC finished the regular season first in rushing yards (1,459) with an average of 5.4 yards per carry, 91.2 yards per game, and 14 TDs (4). He’s also second on the team with 67 receptions (third highest for RBs), for 564 receiving yards (second highest for RBs), and seven receiving TDs (T18 overall). Wide Receiver, Brandon Aiyuk leads the 49ers with 75 receptions (T31) for 1,342 receiving yards (7) for an average of 17.9 yards per reception (2) and seven TDs (T18). Tight End, George Kittle likes to get into the mix as well. Hey, Kittle, Kittle has 65 receptions (10th for TEs), for 1,020 receiving yards (23rd overall, 1st for TEs), for an average of 15.7 yards per receptions (12th overall) and six TDs (T29). Let’s not forget about WR, Deebo Samuel. Deebs (like Biebs?) adds an additional 60 receptions for 892 receiving yards (36) at an average of 14.9 yards per reception (T22), and seven TDs (T18). Oh! Samuel also has five RUSHING TDs on 37 carries for 225 yards. This offense is RIDICULOUS.

Unfortunately for the Packers, San Fran is almost equally good on defense. The 49ers are third in both rushing yards allowed per game (90) and points allowed per game (17.5). They are also tied for first in interceptions with 22, and tied for ninth in team sacks with 48. Defensive End, Nick Bosa (have you heard of him?) finished the season with 10.5 sacks (T17) and 16 tackles for a loss (T10). Mid-season acquisition, DE Chase Young is behind Bosa with 7.5 sacks, followed closely by DT Javon Hargrave with seven sacks. Cornerback Charvarius Ward leads the 49ers with five INTs (T4) and 23 passes defended, which is best in the NFL. Middle Linebacker, Fred Warner drops back quite a bit and has four picks this season (T7) with 11 passes defensed (T28), while CB Deommodore Lenoir has three INTs and ten passes defended of his own.


If it isn’t obvious at this point, I’m not sure what to tell you. The Packers played a great game when they needed to play against a Cowboys organization that loves (pun intended) to choke in the playoffs. Green Bay played their best game of the season, and they will absolutely need to duplicate that performance to keep it competitive with the 49ers. If I was a gambling man…which I actually am…I would take San Fran with the -9.5 points. It’s almost cruel to Packers’ fans that Green Bay showed up the way they did against Dallas, and giving their faithful fans false hope. The 49ers have a better offense, a better defense, better special teams, better turnover differential, better coaches, and they don’t have a tendency to choke in the playoffs. Green Bay will not be able to get pressure on Purdy to the point where he may not even have to play at some point in the fourth quarter. I’ll take the 49ers, 34-17. Thanks for the “read”!


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