Welcome to the playoffs! The San Francisco 49ers begin the postseason coming off their first round bye and host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional. This game will be the second of the Saturday games, taking place at 5:00 PM. Kevin Burkhardt has the play-by-play, Greg Olsen has commentary.
The 49ers took care of their business in the regular season and have established themselves as an offensive juggernaut in the league. They have played some of the league’s best and walked out with wins. That doesn’t mean they aren’t beatable, because they have shown vulnerabilities, but doing so is a tall ask. The biggest news for the 49ers is their injury report, which has slimmed down considerably in the two weeks of rest they have had.
Many may fear this could be like the 1995 NFC Divisional, the game where the 49ers were surprised by an emerging Brett Favre. That loss had a lot to do with the 49ers having little running game (the departure of Ricky Watters hurt), and Steve Young dropping back 65 times to pass. Many may fear this is like the 1988 Divisional where the Minnesota Vikings surprised the 49ers—while that could happen, Kyle Shanahan has never come into a playoff game unprepared. The opposite, actually.
The Green Bay Packers are riding high off a massive beatdown of the Dallas Cowboys 48-32. In a game Dallas was favored, the Packers walked in, scored, and never looked back. The Cowboys defense, once considered a strength, couldn’t stop the run, the pass or anything and quarterback Dak Prescott played what may be his worst postseason game of his career.
At the top of that chaos was Packer quarterback Jordan Love who threw for 272 yards and a 152.2 passer rating. Against the Dallas defense. The Packers are a young team and clearly playing with house money at this point but they have shown the move to Love may have been a good decision. They come into San Francisco hoping to pull their second upset in a row and exorcise some playoff demons. Previous Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 0-4 against the 49ers in the postseason.
The 49ers injury report has been slimmed down from previous weeks. Edge rusher Clelin Ferrell is ruled out due to a knee injury. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw is listed as questionable with Achilles tendinitis but odds of him starting seem to be good. Safety George Odum is expected to be activated after a biceps injury so the special teams will get a boost. The big name is Arik Armstead who will return to the defensive line. The run defense has missed Armstead and almost become a liability in his abscence.
The Packers will be without linebacker Kingsley Enagbare. Running back AJ Dillion, inside linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, cornerback Jaire Alexander and punter Daniel Whelan are all listed as questionable.
The 49ers opened up as 9.5 point favorites against the Packers. The number hasn’t gone either way through the week. I expected a lot of money to be going to the Packers for the point spread but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Date: Saturday, January 20th, 2023
Kickoff: 5:00 PM PST, 8:00 PM EST
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara CA
Play-by-Play: Kevin Burkhardt
Color Analyst: Greg Olsen