Six Points: Packers vs. 49ers
The success –or lack of — for both teams in 2015 has centered largely around quarterback play.
Aaron Rodgers looks like the MVP of the league (again) after three weeks, guiding an injury-riddled Green Bay Packers (3-0) squad to a perfect record thus far.
For the San Francisco 49ers (1-2), their performance over the last two weeks have erased any memory of their season-opening win. In particular, Colin Kaepernick struggled mightily in Week 3 against the Cardinals, throwing four interceptions — including two that were returned for touchdowns.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Packers and 49ers.
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1. Contain Kaepernick in a prove-it game on defense
The Packers appear to have turned over a new leaf on defense, but they’ll have to prove their new identity in Week 4. Kaepernick has made a habit of torching Green Bay’s defense. In three career starts against the Packers (including two playoff wins), Kaepernick has thrown for over 900 yards and six touchdowns. He has also rushed 30 times for over 300 yards.
2. Keep San Francisco’s pass-rush away from Rodgers
The Packers must afford Rodgers plenty of time to throw by keeping San Francisco’s hungry pass-rushers at bay. The 49ers have six different players with a sack, so the pressure can come from anywhere. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is back at full force after missing the entire 2014 season with a knee injury; Green Bay’s blockers must be wary of him coming on a blitz.
3. If leading, don’t let the 49ers hang around
Dating to the NFC Championship game, the Packers have been forced to field — or try to field — an onside kick in three of their last four outings. Green Bay looks like a dominant team, but the Packers haven’t been able to win without late-game heroics. The 49ers have rolled over and lost by a total of 65 points over the last two weeks; this is a team the Pack can finally blow out.