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Preview: 49ers at Green Bay Packers

Instead of the Green Bay Packers usual green and gold uniforms on Sunday, they'll be wearing an alternate jersey of blue and gold, which is a re-creation of the uniforms worn in 1929. That year was a very good year for the franchise. They played 13 games, won the NFL championship, and outscored their opponents 198 to 22. However it was a rough year for the NFL as the great depression was just beginning. The Dayton Triangles only managed to play 6 games before folding their franchise, but since they had been outscored 136 to 7 in those 6 games, it was probably for the best.

Fast forward 80 years, and the Packers are fielding another very good team that could bring Green Bay another NFL championship. Meanwhile, the 49ers had to win last week to push their record to 4-7, which amazingly leaves them only 1 game back in the pathetic NFC West. Maybe this could have been a trap game, the Packers lone home game sandwiched in between four road games, but I doubt they're taking any game for granted now that they're looking up at the Bears in the standings. The 49ers need to win as they could hope to move into a tie for 1st place with a 5-7 record, but they're a lousy road team that has only won three times on the road, in the United States, in the past two seasons.

More on this game after the jump. And you can read more about the 49ers at Niners Nation.

Rankings from Football Outsiders

Teams Run Offense Pass Offense Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 19 6 18 2
49ers 14 27 5 17


Packers Offense vs. 49ers Defense

While the offense was held to only 17 points last week, it could have easily been more if QB Aaron Rodgers hadn't fumbled at the goal line. And the offense moved the ball well (over 400 yards of offense) but never had starting field position better than their own 32 yard line.

The offensive line gave RB Brandon Jackson nowhere to run last week, and the 49ers run defense is ranked almost the same as the Falcons run defense. I don't see any reason to expect a running game rebirth on Sunday.

And like the Falcons, the 49ers pass defense isn't stellar. There are reports of snow on Sunday, but that might not slow down the pass offense either. QB Brett Favre had a great passing game against the Seahawks during the 2007 playoffs despite the snow. Expect what you've come to expect from Rodgers over the past three games.

49ers Offense vs. Packers Defense

A match-up of the 27th ranked pass offense vs. the 2nd ranked pass defense looks ugly. Now it looks even worse without the 49ers leading rusher and receiver, RB Frank Gore, who's out for the season with a fractured hip.

RB Brian Westbrook (v.2008) came off the bench to run for 136 yards and 1 TD, but the Cardinals defense played as bad as it looked. The 49ers could have some success against the Packers on the ground, but they might not get a chance if they have to play from behind.

While the Cardinals were lousy against the run, they only allowed QB Troy Smith to complete 47.8% of his passes with a QB rating of 61.7. And that performance came after they were shutout at home by a mediocre Buccaneers defense. TE Vernon Davis might have some success (he did in last year's game against the Packers) but he might draw a lot of attention by CB Charles Woodson which would take him out of it.

Hidden Football

The Packers slipped a little last week after they got flagged for 8 penalties last week. However, the 49ers are the 5th most penalized team, so the Packers still have a huge advantage in that area. The 49ers special teams are ranked No. 18 by Football Outsiders, due in large part to their excellent punter, Andy Lee. But they've had a revolving door at kicker the past couple weeks and K Jeff Reed is the latest player signed to fill in for K Joe Nedney. With the Packers having an advantage on one hand, and the 49ers on another, it seems like this category will be a push between the two teams.


How exactly are the 49ers going to move the ball? They remind me a little bit of the Bills (back when the Packers played them in September) in that RB Fred Jackson was able to score a touchdown, but they couldn't pass the ball at all. Those Bills ended up with only 7 points. While the 49ers defense reminds me of the Falcons defense, the Packers offense should have a few more chances (and better field position) this week. Packers 24, 49ers 7.