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When the NFC playoffs began in 2011, many pointed to a potential NFC Championship showdown between Green Bay and San Francisco. The Packers' second-ranked offense would match up with the NFC’s top-ranked defense.
That matchup never materialized as Eli Manning led the Giants to their second postseason victory in Green Bay during his tenure.
The Packers have won 13 of the last 14 meetings with the 49ers, including playoffs. San Francisco's only win since 1990 came on the memorable Young-to-Owens touchdown pass with three seconds remaining in the wild-card playoff game at the end of the 1998 season.
The 49ers' expectations are the highest they’ve been since George Seifert led them to their fifth Super Bowl title after the 1994 season. Last season the 49ers finished the regular season 13-3, their best record since they had an identical finish in 1997.
With their season-ending loss to the Giants, the Packers season ended in disappointment. But on the strength of their 15-1 regular-season record, the Packers will open the season as the favorites in the NFC. This early-season showdown between last year’s two best NFC teams could be a statement game.