49ers vs. Packers: preview, forecast what to look for


What to watch out for when the 49ers are battling the Packers at 6:40 p.m. EST Sunday in the NFC championship.

Marquee matchup

The 49ers left the duel between Joe Staley and Packers and passed Za’Darius Smith

Staley, who played in the fourth NFC championship game of his career, is the 49er offensive captain and has to fend off Smith, who scored 13.5 sacks, 55 tackles, 17 losses and 37 quarterbacks this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Smith led the NFL with 93 quarterback pressure on the season.

In the playoffs against Seattle last week, Smith had two sacks, two duels, a duel against defeat and four quarterback goals. In his 257 pass-blocking snaps of the season, Staley only approved two sacks. These numbers are crucial for both teams.

Joe Staley and Za’Darius Smith
Joe Staley and Za’Darius SmithAP (2)

4 depths

beaches: The 49ers stifled the Vikings in last week's 27:10 win, partly due to Dalvin Cook falling back to 18 yards with nine runs.

The Packers' offensive is very much about fighting back Aaron Jones, who received two touchdowns in Green Bay's win over Seattle. Jones & # 39; 16 touchdowns in the regular season shared the NFL leadership with Tennessee's Derrick Henry.

If the 49ers beat Jones like Cook, they'll likely win.

Divine Davante: Davante Adams is Green Bay's most dangerous offensive weapon for QB Aaron Rodgers, who caught 83 passes for 997 yards in just 12 games this season (numbers that add up to 104 catches for 1,250 yards). He seems to have almost completely recovered from a lawn toe injury that cost him four games.

In the Packers' playoff win over Seattle last week, Rodgers completed eight passes for 160 yards and two TDs. Adams, a Palo Alto (Calif.) High alum, was held for seven catches for 43 yards and the November 24 meeting between the two teams. This week there was speculation that the 49ers could tie Richard Sherman, their best cornerback, to Adams – although this violates the 49ers' usual scheme, namely cover 3.

Putty & Caboodle: Tight end George Kittle, the leader of the 49ers with 85 catches and 1,053 yards this season, scored only three passes for 16 yards against the Vikings and missed training on Wednesday with a sustained ankle injury.

In the team's last encounter, Kittle got six passes for 129 yards on the Packers, including a 61-yard TD reception. As different as coach Kyle Shanahan may be regarding his crime, look for Kittle, who can be seen more on Sunday than last week.

One of the players likely to be responsible for Kittle's slowdown will be Packers LB Blake Martinez.

"He is a special player," said Martinez about Kittle. "He's someone you have to have several people on. Understand what formations they give. Where he is All these kinds of things. He definitely plays a big part in the game plan."

Keep it: The 49ers have released Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins ​​six times, all after their line of defense. What does that mean for Rodgers?

When the teams last met in November, seasoned Green Bay right-back Bryan Bulaga took just nine snapshots before leaving the pitch with an injury. He was replaced by Alex Light, who was overtaken by Nick Bosa, the defensive newcomer to the 49ers, and the pass frenzy of the 49ers. Bulaga is well, although she was sick last week and will be back in the lineup.

Cannizzaro's call

The 49ers are better than the packers. Regardless of what the statistics say, the Packers have the better quarterback, who is more trustworthy in a big game (Aaron Rodgers) than the 49ers (Jimmy Garoppolo). Nevertheless, San Francisco is able to play players in a higher position and has a better defense.

49ers 31, Packers 23