The San Francisco 49ers attempt to claim a sixth Lombardi Trophy kicks off Sunday afternoon as they face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The 49ers are 2 1/2 point favorites in a game where the cold could prove to be a significant X-factor. The Packers have an edge in cold weather, but neither team has played in this kind of weather before. It's gonna be tough for both teams.
Aside from the cold, there are plenty of storylines to consider. Colin Kaepernick has faced the Packers twice, and won both times. He unleashed the read option attack in the divisional round last year, and then showed what he could do as a pocket passer in Week 1 of this year. Since Week 1, he's been a bit up and down, but the return of Michael Crabtree has resulted in improved play.
And of course, Crabtree is a huge storyline for this one. He returned in December from an Achilles injury suffered during the offseason. His return gives the 49ers three legitimate receiving options, joining Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. The 49ers have not had three great receiving options in this manner during their last two playoff runs. In 2012-13, Randy Moss was as much a decoy as anything. In 2011-12, the No. 2 WR after Crabtree was a combination of Kyle Williams and Joe Hastings.
On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers biggest question mark is whether or not Carlos Rogers and Eric Wright can play. Rogers suffered a hamstring strain in the 49ers last defensive series against the Arizona Cardinals, and missed the final three snaps. He sat out all three days of practice and seems unlikely to play. Eric Wright suffered some kind of hamstring tweak on Thursday at practice, but he was back practicing on Friday. He seems much more likely to play against the Packers.
On the Packers side of things, Aaron Rodgers will make his second straight start since returning from his fractured collarbone. He was rusty at times last week against the Bears, but he made some huge throws, including the late game-winner. He has Randall Cobb back in the fold. Even without
Eddie Lacy is the other big name to watch on offense for the Packers. The 49ers contained him in Week 1, but the rookie running back has made significant strides since then. The Packers are trying to establish more balance on offense, and given how cold it will be on Sunday, maybe we see all the more from Lacy. Of course, he is also working back from an ankle injury. Could the weather cause that to be an issue? I don't know, but it's one of many weather-related storylines to track.
Here is a rundown of all the pertinent broadcast details, along with the final injury report, officials and more.
Game time: 1:40 p.m. (Pacific Time)
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
TV Channel: FOX
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver, Erin Andrews
Radio: KGO 810 AM, The Bone 107.7 FM; 49ers Radio Network - Ted Robinson, Eric Davis; Westwood One - Tom McCarthy, Rod Woodson, Mark Malone; Spanish Radio KTRB 860 - Erwin Higueros, Jesus Zarate
Odds: 49ers favored by 2 1/2 points
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go (Live); NFL Rewind (Not Live)
Questionable: CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring), LB Dan Skuta (foot), CB Eric Wright (hamstring)
Probable: WR Jon Baldwin (illness), LB Navorro Bowman (wrist), CB Tarell Brown (ribs), WR Michael Crabtree (quadricep), C Jonathan Goodwin (not injury related), RB Frank Gore (knee), G Mike Iupati (knee), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
Last time they played: 49ers won 34-28 (9/8/2013)
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