B/R Consensus: Packers (6-5)
Vegas: 49ers (-3)
This isn't the same Packers team from the early season. Aaron Rodgers is playing at an extremely high level, and the 49ers will struggle to stop him. For that matter, this isn't the same 49ers team. Colin Kaepernick is going to have to play out of his mind to beat the Packers, and he may not be ready for that kind of challenge.
A dominant defense meets a high-powered offense, but the Packers have no one who can stop Aldon Smith and Justin Smith crashing off the edge.
The Packers always seem to get railroaded by physical teams. The 49ers, Seahawks, Giants and Vikings were among the physically tough teams that handled the Packers this season. The 49ers are a better team now than they were in Week 1, with the change at quarterback chief among the reasons why.
No quarterback has been sacked more than Aaron Rodgers this year; if the San Francisco pass rush can get to him, it will successfully kill drives. The Packers haven't seen a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick—though they did host and lose to the Niners in the season opener, that was with Alex Smith under center—and their inconsistent defense likely won't be able to predict and stop what he and Frank Gore will attack them with.
Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback, but he's going to have to beat a good defense, overcome his own defense and beat a good, well-rested team on the road. The 49ers likely spent most of their time studying the Packers during their bye, and Jim Harbaugh's staff is one of the best at putting his players in position to be successful. You can't count out the Packers, but the 49ers should be able to come away with a close victory.
This is a real toss-up game, and there's no reason to favor one team over the other. I'm taking the 49ers because of the home-field advantage, but if the Pack wins, I won't bat an eye.
I know this is a team sport, but in this case I'm really taking Aaron Rodgers to outduel Colin Kaepernick by a wide margin.
Not an easy game by any stretch, but this is a much different team than the one San Fran beat way back when. Although, to be fair, Colin Kaepernick makes the Niners a much different team as well.
In the end, the Packers have found some balance on the ground, and Rodgers is still Rodgers. The defense has stepped up as well, and Charles Woodson will help keep Frank Gore in check as he did against Adrian Peterson.
Back in Week 1, San Francisco started off a powerful season by beating the Green Packers by eight points and showing that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t win on his own. Green Bay has a different feel now, sparked by the diminutive DuJuan Harris at running back. Plus, Rodgers steps things up in the playoffs.
Other Picks: Nagler (Packers); Langland (Packers).