We are three games away from two contenders doing battle when the Green Bay Packers will travel to Santa Clara, CA to face the San Francisco 49ers. I will be attending that game and there will be a few key players to watch for. These key players will be Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Nick Bosa, and George Kittle. These four players will be ones I specifically watch for in the game and have the potential to single-handedly turn the game in their team’s favor.
San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers: What to Expect
Aaron Rodgers always has the potential to turn games around and win them by himself. He’s shown that in years past. The Hail Mary against the Detroit Lions a few years ago and the comeback win last year on Opening Night against the Chicago Bears on a broken leg. These are just examples of how Rodgers can take over games. He statistically has the best passer rating of all time and the best touchdown to interception ratio. Over the past three weeks, Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdowns. He’s already looking like the front-runner for MVP and if he keeps this up. His aerial attack will prove to be too much for the 49ers secondary to handle. Kyler Murray laid out the blueprint Thursday night on how to beat San Francisco. You keep throwing the ball and force the secondary to make plays. There is one way to beat the Niners, throw the ball deep and over the top. And Rodgers is the best guy for that job.
Aaron Jones has finally broken through. He’s accumulated 11 touchdowns on the year, thanks in part to his explosive four-touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys a few weeks back. The 49ers pride themselves on their dominant front seven defenders, as they should. That is the best defensive line in football. However, they will be dealing with not only a rushing threat, but a pass-catching threat in Jones. I think that will be something that is too much for them to handle and Jones will eat up that defense. However, if the defense scouts Jones well, he could potentially end up as a non-factor which could put the Packers at a massive disadvantage.
Enter the younger and better Bosa brother. Nick Bosa has wreaked havoc on the entire NFL so far for the 49ers. Having been selected as the number two overall pick in last year’s draft, there were high expectations for Bosa. And boy has he lived up to them. Bosa entered the draft as the top pass rusher and has retained that title. The younger Bosa has accumulated seven sacks, 21 combined tackles, and one interception through just eight games! The Packers offensive line must protect Rodgers at all costs because if the rookie gets multiple shots at Rodgers, the Packers could be in for a very long afternoon.
George Kittle is by far the best tight end in the NFL. He acts as essentially a fourth wide receiver and has done it effectively. Kittle has tallied 46 receptions for 541 yards and four touchdowns through just eight games this year. He seems to beat the zone defenses that teams throw at him by using his massive frame to create space and sit in the middle of the field to be the security blanket for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Packers need to play man coverage on him with a possible safety functioning as a double-team in order to eliminate Kittle from the 49ers offensive plans. If the Packers defense allows Kittle to run wild and eat up yards, the defense will get tired quickly chasing him all over the field and could potentially be staring a blowout in the face.
The Sole Survivor
These four dynamic playmakers will be the differences for their respective teams. Whichever team is able to stifle those playmakers will undoubtedly win the game and take command of the NFC. This game has potential playoff implications and possible home-field advantage rights on the line. One of these teams in this San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers matchup will come out of the NFC and face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. And the team that wins this game will be a secure pick to win the Lombardi Trophy.