Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Wildcard Kansas City at Indianapolis 4:35 PM EST San Diego at Cincinnati 1:05 PM EST
*UPDATED  New Orleans at Philadelphia 8:10 PM EST San Francisco at Green Bay 4:40 PM EST

Prediction: SF 27, GB 24 (Line: SF by 2.5)

Update: The game looks even colder now with expected temperatures around zero with wind chill in the minus-teens. That's pretty cold and there may be gusty wind which makes cold even worse. There are no injuries of note other than Clay Mathews remains out and Carlos Rogers never practiced and may not play. Weather can be very tempting to overstate but zero degrees is just plain awful. I am slightly adjusting passing numbers down.

The 12-4 49ers takes the wild card and a 6-2 road record to face the 8-7-1 Packers who won the NFC North with a near miracle finish to the season that seemed already over. This matchup happened in the season opener when the 49ers won 34-28 at home and again in the Divisional Round of 2012 when they won 45-31 also in San Francisco. This is a new venue for the matchup and will be played in freezing weather with a chance of snow flurries.

1 GB 34-28 10 CAR 9-10
2 @SEA 3-29 11 @NO 20-23
3 IND 7-27 12 @WAS 27-6
4 @STL 35-11 13 STL 23-13
5 HOU 34-3 14 SEA 19-17
6 ARI 32-20 15 @TB 33-14
7 @TEN 31-17 16 ATL 34-24
8 @JAC 42-10 17 @ARI 23-20
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
San Francisco Rush Catch Pass
QB Colin Kaepernick 60,1 - 220,1
RB Frank Gore 80,1 1-10 -
TE Vernon Davis - 5-50,1 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 5-70 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 4-60  
WR Quinton Patton - 1-10 -
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers end on a six game winning streak which went against losing records pius a close home win over the Seahawks. That all at least gives the appearance of a 49ers team that is peaking late in the season and there are reasons to believe that may be happening. Michael Crabtree's return has already had an impact both as a receiver and as someone else the defense must plan to cover.

Colin Kaepernick was never so good this year as he was in week one when he passed for 412 yards and three touchdowns. He's consistently been posting at least one score but half of his games only had that single touchdown. His yardage tends to remain moderate though he just threw for 310 yards and two scores in Arizona last week.

Kaepernick went off big in the 2012 playoff game when he passed for 263 yards and two scores along with 181 rushing yards and two more touchdowns.

The Packers always allow a couple of passing touchdowns but in Green Bay opponents are held to lesser yardage than on the road. Throw in the chance for bad weather and it is not likely that Kaepernick matches what he did in week one. Most end up with only about half of that sort of production.

Frank Gore scored nine times this season and he broke 100 rushing yards on three occasions but his role as a receiver is minor and he's been carrying the ball less than 20 times per game in all but the easiest matchups. He rushed 21 times in the season opener but only gained 44 yards and scored once. His 4.1 yard average is the lowest of his career.

The Packers have been susceptible to the run and allowed four different visitors to rush for over 100 yards. Only three managed to score but upper level elite backs have all done well against the Packers, Gore did not run that well in the season opener and it was at home.

Anquan Boldin bracketed the 2013 season with big games. One was the season opener versus the Packers when he turned in 13 catches for 208 yards and one score. The other was week 17 when he rolled up nine catches for 149 yards and one score. He had a total of seven scores on the year and most came in road games. Michael Crabtree did not play in the season opener but posted 119 yards and two scores in the playoff win over the Packers. Back for five games now, Crabtree scored just once and topped 100 yards only in the home game versus the Falcons.

Vernon Davis scored 13 times in the regular season which includes his six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener. He was held to just one catch and no scores in the playoff win over the Packers.

The Packers rank poorly against tight ends because they allowed nine touchdowns to the position but no visiting tight end gained more than 59 yards on the Packers. But wide receivers have been very successful and not just in home games. Ten scores went to wideouts in Green Bay and four different receivers topped 100 yards.

This played in Green Bay changes things but the 49ers are hitting their stride. The weather won't make the game much fun but short of high winds or deep snow it shouldn't be too big of a factor even for the 49ers. Kaepernick already shredded them as a runner last year and Clay Matthews is not playing.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 16 19 31 7 6 9
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 25 24 25 25 14 25


1 @SF 28-34 10 PHI 13-27
2 WAS 38-20 11 @NYG 13-27
3 @CIN 30-34 12 MIN 26-26
4 BYE WEEK 13 @DET 10-40
5 DET 22-9 14 ATL 22-21
6 @BAL 19-17 15 @DAL 37-36
7 CLE 31-13 16 PIT 31-38
8 @MIN 44-31 17 @CHI 33-28
9 CHI 20-27 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers - - 270,2
RB Eddie Lacy 70,1 3-25 -
TE Andrew Quarless - 2-20 -
WR Randall Cobb - 5-70,1 -
WR Jordy Nelson - 7-80,1  
WR James Jones - 3-40 -
PK Mason Crosby 1FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Packers squeaked into the playoffs thanks to the one-point comeback win in Dallas that was as much about their collapse as it was great play by the Packers. Once Aaron Rodgers broke his collar bone in week nine, the Packers could not generate enough offense to stay in many games. But Rodgers finally returned in week 17 right after fantasy owners could not benefit.

Rodgers passed for 318 yards and two scores in Chicago and 39 passes later is obviously healthy again. He passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener in San Francisco. Rodgers threw for 257 yards and two scores in the playoff lost in San Francisco last year.

The 49ers haven't allowed any quarterback to throw for three touchdowns since the season opener though on the road they gave up three games that had over 300 passing yards.

Eddie Lacy was a raw rookie in the season opener and ran for 41 yards on 14 carries with one touchdown and added one catch for 31 yards. Lacy would go on to total 11 touchdowns on the season including ten scores over the last 11 games. Lacy is a touchdown machine and a big part of the offense now. He typically ends up with 20+ carries per game. When the weather turns bad, Lacy becomes even more important as a power runner who is hard to bring down in the cold and slush.

The 49ers are great against the run and never allowed more than 98 rushing yards to any opposing runner even when Rodgers was out and the Packers were losing. Lacy has been tending to a sore ankle but was able to play effectively last week and should be even better in this game.

Jordy Nelson gained 130 yards on seven catches with one score in the season opener but his stats fell off sharply once Rodgers left. Randall Cobb gained 108 yards on seven catches and scored once in San Francisco but was later lost to a fractured leg in week six. After missing ten games, he returned to face the Bears with the intention he would have more of a cameo in his first game back. Instead, he ended with two catches for 55 yards and both were touchdowns including the eventual game winner. Cobb's return pushes Jarrett Boykin back down the depth chart.

The CB Carlos Rodgers may not play this week because of his hamstring but the 49ers defense already allowed over 340 yards in each of the last two games. Rodgers is back to a must-start and Lacy has a shot at least moderate yardage and a score. Nelson, Cobb and Jones all deserve consideration with Nelson the most likely to shine. The 49ers are bringing the best defense that the Packers have faced since... since... week one when they last played.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 11 11 2 19 5 16
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 3 9 9 13 1 1

Wildcard Kansas City at Indianapolis 4:35 PM EST San Diego at Cincinnati 1:05 PM EST
*UPDATED  New Orleans at Philadelphia 8:10 PM EST San Francisco at Green Bay 4:40 PM EST

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