It’s the marquee matchup of Week 1 as the top two seeds from last year’s playoffs face off. And they couldn’t be more opposite. The 49ers have arguably the top defense in the NFL, while Green Bay led the league in points last season and set an NFL record with 51 touchdown passes behind league MVP Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers bulldozed their way through the regular season last year, and nothing has changed. As for the Niners, they addressed their most glaring weakness by stocking up on receivers by adding free agents Mario Manningham and Randy Moss and drafting former Illinois star A.J. Jenkins in the first round.
San Francisco likely will play the ball-control game in an attempt to keep the ball out of the hands of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers and his explosive group of receivers. Look for Jim Harbaugh to ask his team to grind it out with a strong running game and keep the chains moving with a controlled passing attack. If San Francisco can control the clock as well as win the turnover battle, it has a good chance of coming out on top.
Not since 1999 (15-1 Vikings at 14-2 Falcons) have two teams with this many combined wins from the previous season squared off in Week 1. This marks the third straight year that the top two seeds in the NFC from the previous season met in Week 1 the next season (Atlanta at Chicago, 2011; Minnesota at New Orleans, 2010). It will be the first time in franchise history that Green Bay will face a team in Week 1 that won 13 or more games the previous season.
Including playoffs, the Packers have won eight consecutive games over the 49ers in Green Bay. In the overall series, the Packers have also won eight straight, and 13 of the last 14, including a 4-1 mark in postseason action.
49ERS NOTES: Team led NFL with +28 turnover differential, tied for 2nd best mark in NFL since 1970 … QB Alex Smith has won 14 of past 17 starts. Had 1st career 3,000-yard season (3,144) & threw 5 INTs, tied for 3rd fewest in season in NFL history (min. 400 att.). In career, 49ers are 10-0 when Smith starts & has 100+ rating … RB Frank Gore rushed for 1,211 yards, his team-record 5th 1,000-yard season. Has 29 career 100-yard games, most in club history … WR Michael Crabtree had career-high 72 catches & 874 yards. Since 2009, TE Vernon Davis has 26 TDs, most among NFC TEs & 2nd most by NFL TE. WR-KR-PR Ted Ginn Jr. ranked 3rd in NFL with 27.6 KR avg. & was 4th in NFL with 12.3 PR avg. Only player to rank in top 5 in both … Rush defense led NFL allowing 77.3 yards per game. LB Aldon Smith led NFL rookies with 14 sacks, 2nd most ever by rookie. DT Justin Smith had 7.5 sacks & is 1 of 3 players in team history with 6+ sacks in 4 consecutive seasons. LB Navorro Bowman led team with 173 tackles. LB Patrick Willis has been selected to Pro Bowl in each of 1st 5 seasons
PACKERS NOTES: Have 52 wins on KO Weekend, tied for most ever. Scored 560 points in 2011, most in franchise history & 2nd most all-time … QB Aaron Rodgers was AP MVP & had 122.5 rating, best single-season mark in NFL history. Set NFL season record with 13 games with 100+ rating & 12 games with 110+ rating. Had franchise record 4,643 pass yards & 45 TDs. Is only QB in NFL history to pass for 4,000+ yards & have 6 or fewer INTs. Is 2-0 vs. SF with 5 TDs, 0 INTs & 118.9 rating … RB Cedric Benson makes GB debut. Is 1 of 5 with 1,000+ rush yards in each of past 3 years … WR Jordy Nelson had career-highs in catches (68), yards (1,263) & TDs (15). His 15 rec. TDs were 3rd most by Packer in season. WR Greg Jennings has 11 catches for 248 yards (124 per game) & 3 TDs in past 2 vs. SF … Since joining GB in 2006, S Charles Woodson has 37 INTs (2nd in NFL) & 9 INT-TDs (1st in NFL). Has INT-TD in each of 6 years with GB & is only player in NFL history with INT-TD in 6 consecutive seasons. Since 2010 (incl. playoffs), CB Tramon Williams leads NFL with 13 INTs. LB Clay Matthews had 6 sacks & 3 INTs (1 TD) & is 1st player in team history with defensive TD in each of 1st 3 NFL seasons.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Green Bay. Favorite is 7-3-2 ATS in their last 12 meetings. 49ers are 1-9-2 ATS in their last 12 meetings. 49ers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Green Bay.