Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

‘It’s hard to envision the Niners having much of a dropoff’ vs. Packers, says Peter King

Jan 13, 2020 at 9:40 AM--

With this past weekend's slate of playoff games behind us, we know the matchups for the conference championship games. The Tennessee Titans will travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

On the NFC side, it will be the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium. The Packers traveled to Santa Clara during Week 12 of the regular season and were embarrassed by the Kyle Shanahan-led squad to the tune of a 37-8 blowout.

"Yeah, we've got to play a lot better, obviously," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after beating the Seahawks 28-21 on Sunday. "They're a great football team, have a great front, obviously get after the passer and don't need to rush a lot of guys to do that. Excellent pass rush and really good on the back end, smart."

The Packers are hoping for a different outcome in Santa Clara this time around. Peter King of NBC Sports feels like Rodgers and the Packers might leave disappointed. Much of that is based on the 49ers defense's dismantling of a very good Minnesota Vikings team on Saturday.

"Minnesota, with a top-five running back in Dalvin Cook, had zero first downs rushing," King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America feature for NBC Sports. "The defensive line had a disruptive 23 sacks, pressures or hits of Cousins. Frankly, it's hard to envision the Niners having much of a dropoff this week against the Packers. In Week 12 at Santa Clara, Aaron Rodgers had a poor 104-yard passing day in a 37-8 Niners rout of the Packers. If anything, the 49ers are healthier now, with Dee Ford back from seven weeks of inactivity with a quad injury. Just what the Packers need: reinforcements for a front that gave them fits in November."

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported, after speaking with Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur, that the Packers feel they'll have to change the game plan for this matchup significantly. The coach will try to find things other teams did successfully against San Francisco and the Packers will try to implement those strategies this weekend.

Will it be enough?

"In that (Week 12) game, San Francisco showed the kind of relentless pass-rush the rested Niners showed Saturday against Minnesota," King continued. "So expect coach Matt LaFleur to mix up his protections against his old friend Kyle Shanahan, so he's able to give Rodgers a fighting chance. The way I saw the San Francisco front Saturday, Green Bay will have to use an extra blocker often, make sure Rodgers gets rid of it quickly, and play its best game of the year, by far, to score enough to win."

Click here to read King's entire Football Morning in America feature for NBC Sports.

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