The playoffs are finally here. The San Francisco 49ers will begin their run to the Super Bowl but must get past the Green Bay Packers first. Kris Burke from ACME Packing Co. answered five questions to help us with this matchup and learn more about this game.
1. Jordan Love really came into his own in the second half of 2023. How have Packers fans’ feelings changed since the start of the season, and where can Love improve in 2024 and beyond?
I think a lot of Packers fans were anxious early on when Love and the team struggled, but I wouldn’t say a majority of fans ever actually quit on him. It was just a reminder that quarterback development isn’t always linear:
In terms of where he can improve, there are still some minor accuracy things he can tweak, and the big test for him next year is how he does now that defensive coordinators will have months to study a lot more film of him.
2. Out of all the young skill players on Green Bay’s roster, which one has the brightest future and should be the focus for 49ers defensive coaches to stop this weekend?
Jayden Reed, on both counts. Reed said this week he studied a lot of Deebo Samuel film in college, and he’s a big reason the Packers' offense has had the breakout season it had. He’s tough, fast, and very reliable for a rookie.
That’s not to take anything away from people like Dontayvion Wicks, Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs. The Packers have a very bright future and an exciting young core on offense.
3. One Packers defender has already publicly mentioned getting pressure on Purdy as a focal point of their game plan heading into this Divisional matchup. How would you like to see the talent on that side of the ball be deployed in scheming ways to stop the 49ers offense?
This is where Rashan Gary can become a household name across the country if he hasn’t already. He was already a gifted athlete when the Packers took him in 2019, and he’s evolved into a premier pass rusher. He’s someone the 49ers will need to account for every down.
The best thing Joe Barry can do is consistently send people, and definitely more than three. This defense doesn’t do well with a three-man rush because coverages aren’t always sound on the back end. I’d argue Green Bay’s defensive coordinator is a bigger question mark in this game than any player on defense.
4. What 49ers player worries you the most in this specific matchup?
Deebo Samuel or Christian McCaffery.
Samuel’s speed concerns me as the Packers aren’t the fastest defense, and their inability to tackle at times could make this a tough matchup. Green Bay’s done well shutting down big-name receivers, but San Francisco has enough that I don’t know which one they should really focus on.
As for McCaffery, the Packers haven’t done well against the run this year, and McCaffery is still very dangerous. Again, this is where the inconsistent tackling of the Packers can really hurt:
5. Oddsmakers are expecting an offensive shootout - with a line set at 50.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Are you taking the over or under, and is what is your prediction for the games’ outcome?
I would take the over here. The Packers' offense is red hot, but this is the biggest challenge Green Bay’s defense has faced all year.
I think there was a little disrespect to the Packers by making them near 10-point underdogs, and I think the game will be close.
I still think the 49ers will win. I’m saying 34-28 49ers … in overtime!