Heading into the divisional round this Saturday, it’s must-win football in the NFL. San Francisco will host Green Bay at Candlestick Park for an enticing rematch of Week 1 from the regular season.
Both teams have since grown, establishing new identities that helped them win games and get into the playoffs. For the Packers, health-wise, they limped through most of the season – but luckily for them, Aaron Rodgers is a one-man wrecking crew.
They have since gotten healthy and have been playing more complete team football.
The 49ers, on the other hand, motioned for personnel changes. Without batting an eye, Jim Harbaugh moved from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick, dawning a new era of football in the Bay Area.
The 49ers played the Packers in Week 1. Both teams are very different squads than they were that afternoon. Buck/Aikman on the call again.— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) January 7, 2013
Of ESPN.com, Kevin Seifert’s quick run-through of the 49ers-Packers showdown entails the growth of these two teams over the 2012 regular season, including the new element of the read-option.
The major difference in this rematch will be at quarterback for the 49ers. In terms of game planning, the chief difference between Smith and Kaepernick is that Kaepernick brings the read-option. With misdirection and pure freakish athleticism, the 49ers have been able to keep defenses on their heels in this offensive wrinkle.
And with a top-rated offensive line – one of the best run blocking units in football – the Niners are able to take advantage of multiple natural runners in Kaepernick, Gore and James. The read-option creates opportunities by causing defenses to hesitate, mostly because it is an improvisational play.
Of the three aforementioned runners, two of which have top-flight straight-line speed. If Green Bay is not disciplined on defense, San Francisco can create running lanes, which would greatly aid them in controlling this game.
Like Seifert also mentioned, with Joe Webb behind center, the Vikings got some yards with the read-option against the Packers, but they really didn’t explore it. The Niners are experts in the field, and could do significant damage.
If the read-option is successfully deployed and utilized by Greg Roman and the offense, it should help with time of possession, as well as third down and red zone efficiency.
Might 49ers unveil big read option package against Packers, who faced options/zone reads less than any team in 2012?— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@espn_nfcwest) January 6, 2013