Packers vs. 49ers: Keys to a San Francisco Victory

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJanuary 9, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09:  NaVorro Bowman #53 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with with Ahmad Brooks #55 after intercepting a pass during the NFL season opener against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers will begin their quest for a trip to the Super Bowl on Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Jim Harbaugh's crew already beat Green Bay on the road in Week 1, and four months later the 49ers will look to do it again, this time at home.

These are the keys for a 49ers repeat and a trip to the NFC Championship Game.


Build Up Colin Kaepernick's Confidence

The biggest difference between when these two teams played in Week 1 and the matchup on Sunday is who is under center for San Francisco.

Colin Kaepernick has not faced Green Bay, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, he has not seen the Packers secondary in action. On the other, Green Bay has not had the task of forcing errant passes while also containing him on the ground.

The team is going to need to run the ball effectively, but that won't happen if the Packers have eight men in the box.

Kaepernick needs to spread out Green Bay's defense by either burning the team with his arm or his legs.


Get the Ground Game Going

The weakest point in Green Bay's defense is stopping the run. The team gives up 118.5 rushing yards per game and ranks in the bottom half of the league in that category.

Adrian Peterson showed just how vulnerable the Packers are against the run, gashing the team for 608 yards in three games. He even went for 99 yards despite playing against them in back-to-back weeks.

The 49ers rank fourth in the league in rushing yards per game with 155.7. The team is very reliant on the run, and in order to compete against Green Bay's explosive offense, it will need to establish the run early.

Frank Gore will be key in this game, as will Kaepernick's ability to use his legs against the Packers.


Find a Way to Stop Aaron Rodgers

The best way to stop Green Bay is to stop the team's former MVP under center.

Rodgers burned San Francisco in Week 1. He completed 30-of-44 passes and threw for over 300 yards and two scores. However, the 49ers made a few big plays on the defensive end, sacking Rodgers three times and picking him off once.

The team was opportunistic in the first meeting, and it will have to be again on Sunday if it wants to stop Rodgers.

After averaging 318.0 passing yards in his last four games and throwing for 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions during that same span, Rodgers is on fire. San Fran's biggest concern heading into the game should be finding a way to cool him off and give the offense a chance to win the game.