The Packers vs. Niners matchup on September 9, 2012 might as well have been played five years ago. Both teams' identities on offense have evolved drastically since Week 1.
Alex Smith experienced his own Wally Pipp moment, Cedric Benson went down with a season-ending injury, Greg Jennings missed a good chunk of the season with an abdomen injury, Vernon Davis faded to the background, Randall Cobb soared and so on.
The Packers also endured some great challenges/injuries on the defensive side of the ball throughout the season. Those wounds appeared fully healed by the way the Packers attacked a Joe Webb-led Vikings' offense last weekend and forced three turnovers.
San Francisco is 5-2 after naming Colin Kaepernick (229.7 pass yards per game) its starting quarterback. In the two games the 49ers lost (to the Rams and Seahawks), Kaepernick, and not Frank Gore, led the team in rushing. Michael Crabtree muted Vernon Davis' role within the passing game ever since the switch under center, averaging 107.6 receiving yards per game with four touchdowns over the last five games.
The Niners' defense remains one of the league's best. Green Bay's newly named first-string running back, DuJuan Harris (93.5 total yards per game over the last two contests), faces a rush defense that finished fourth in yards allowed (94.2 yards per game) and surrendered just seven rushing touchdowns during the regular season. Despite the loss in Week 1, Rodgers did pass for over 300 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against what ended up being the fourth-best pass defense in the league (200.2 yards/game).
Using our NFL simulation engine, we "played" the Niners and Packers divisional matchup 501 times, and it's the 49ers winning 54.2 percent of the time by an average score of 21-20.
|NFC Divisional: Packers at 49ers|
|Matchup||Win%||Avg Score||WIS Interactive|
|Green Bay Packers||45.8||20||Boxscore|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||54.2||21||Simulate Game|
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The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically based player ranking. Roster modifications have been made for injuries and suspensions and those players are not part of their team's game simulation.
To account for injuries and roster moves announced late in the week, we will be re-simulating some games on Thursdays throughout the 2012 NFL season.
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