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NFC North Playoffs: Green Bay Packers by G.W.Gras

NFC North Final Standings:

1. Green Bay Packers 8-7-1 (3-2)

2. Chicago Bears 8-8 (2-4)

3. Detroit Lions 7-9 (4-2)

4. Minnesota Vikings 5-10-1 (2-3)

Consider this my disclaimer:

I have been a Chicago Bears fan my whole life. I bleed “Monsters of the Midway” pride and never shy away from it. When I entered this podcast/sports blogging world – I told myself to be myself  and be as fair as I can when approaching any topics. This week’s  NFC North entry is one that I was dreading to write since late Sunday . . .

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After beating the Chicago Bears 33-28, the Green Bay Packers won the NFC  North, which gives them a home game in the playoffs and knocked their rivals out of the playoff picture. There was some apparent rust in the game of Aaron Rodgers but he worked out of it by the second half and finished the game with 318 passing yards to go with the pair of touchdown passes he tossed.  The Bears defense actually played better than they’ve played the majority of the season picking off Rodgers twice, holding Eddie Lacy to 66 yards on 21 carries  and even forced a fumble…. which unfortunately (for the Bears) led to a state of confusion leaving the ball laying on the ground with no whistle being blown – giving way for Jarrett Boykin of Green Bay to pick up the ball and run into the end zone like a kid who just stole gum from the candy store.

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The deciding moment in the game was a fourth down touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter from Rodgers to Randall Cobb which occurred because the Chicago Bears staff hasnt realized since week one that Chris Conte has no business on a football field, but I digress. . .
When it was all said and done Green Bay won the game and now plays host to the San Francisco 49ers in a week one playoff meeting.
This match up has two things I dont like : the quarterback play of Colin Kaepernick and . . . the Green Bay Packers. Playing in Green Bay wont be much of a problem for the 49ers because although they’re coming out of San Francisco, the Niners play like a cold weather team. The 49ers defense finds itself matched up against one of the NFL’s best QBs in Rodgers, and Rodgers comes equipped with his arsenal of Nelson, Cobb, Jones and Lacy. The Niners strength is at linebacker more than anything else, and as the Packers have shown in recent playoff match ups, their O Line struggles mightily against above average pass rushes and that may be the biggest deciding factor in it all.

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On the Niners side of the ball, Kaepernick appears more and more to be the kind of QB who struggles to make reads after his first option isnt there. The Packers defense isnt striking fear into the hearts of offensive coordinators – but considering veterans like Tramon Williams and B.J. Raji  have “been here before,”  it would be no surprise to see defensive coordinator Dom Capers throw in enough confusion to throw Kaepernick off.  Also weigh in how Kaepernick made this team look silly last year in the playoffs AND week one of this season – revenge will be a huge motivator in how this team prepares.  Having Clay Matthews wouldve been a HUGE plus for the Green Bay defense  to spy on Kaepernick, but obviously with Matthews out for this game due to a broken thumb, that option is not available.
As in most Green Bay games, Aaron Rodgers will have to be the key. He might have to move around more than he would like in order to avoid pressure but he’s been working with his wideouts long enough that improvising along the way is nothing new. Frank Gore and this San Fran offensive line might be enough to get passed Green Bay in what I think will be a low scoring game which would work to the strengths of the Niners.

Vegas has the Green Bay Packers as a 2.5 point under-dog at home

Smart Money Man says : San Francisco -2.5

The Gee Says: San Francisco 21 Green Bay 20

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

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