Saturday night represents a renewal of one of the best playoff rivalries and games of the 1990s. While many of us were too young to remember these games, we are definitely in for a treat come this weekend.
As it relates to this specific matchup, you are looking at the two best teams in the NFC since the start of the 2011 regular season coming together in what could have easily been a conference championship matchup. Heck, many were anticipating this game in last January's playoffs.
Including the postseason, San Francisco is a whopping 14-3-1 at home since Jim Harbaugh took over as its head coach. It has outscored opponents by an average of nearly two touchdowns in those 18 games.
Coincidentally, only four of those wins have come against playoff teams. One could easily come to the conclusion that San Francisco's success at home has a direct correlation with the level of competition it has played.
That would be too easy.
San Francisco did defeat both the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints at home last season and took out the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7 of this season. There is definitely a newly minted home-field advantage for the 49ers in a stadium they will cease to call their own following next season.
Far be it from me to ignore how well Aaron Rodgers has performed on the road over the last two years. He has thrown 43 touchdowns compared to five interceptions while compiling a staggering quarterback rating of 116.2 away from Lambeau since the start of the 2011 regular season.
Though Green Bay went a pedestrian 4-4 on the road this season, Rodgers performed better statistically than he did at home. He tallied 22 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions.
Of course, stats are only one thing to look at. After all, the Packers were only .500 with Rodgers performing at the top of his game on the road.
One of the key matchups to look for in this one is how Green Bay's running game will fare against one of the best rush defenses in the NFL. The 49ers are 13-2 at home under Harbaugh when they hold an opponent to under 100 yards on the ground (1-1-1 when they don't). Overall, San Francisco is 21-3 at home since 2009 when holding offenses under that 100-yard threshold on the ground.
You see a theme here.
San Francisco averaged 376.4 total yards per game and 24.8 points at home during the season. Meanwhile, it yielded an average of just 13.9 points at Candlestick.
On the other hand, Green Bay averaged 23.8 points and 360.1 yards per game on the road during the regular year. It did, however, yield more points than it scored away from Lambeau.
This game couldn't get any closer in terms of talent and matchups. Could it be that Candlestick, in one of its final NFL games, could help decide the outcome?