Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

‘We’re ready for the challenge’: 49ers discuss upcoming rematch vs. Packers

Jan 16, 2022 at 7:33 PM--

The last time the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers clashed, quarterback Aaron Rodgers single-handedly crushed the hopes of 49ers players, coaches, and fans. It looked like San Francisco was on its way to a victory during that Week 3 matchup, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 37 seconds left in the game.

That was enough for Rodgers, who got the Packers into range for the game-winning field goal.

The 49ers lost three more games after that before turning their season around. They knocked off the third-seeded Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round on Sunday. Now, they will prepare for a rematch with their Week 3 opponent, this time at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan obviously hasn't started preparing for the top-seeded Packers, but that work will begin on the plane ride back to the Bay Area.

"I'm sure I'll be thinking a lot about it here on the plane," Shanahan admitted after the 49ers' 23-17 win on Sunday. "But they've had a hell of a year. I'm glad we get an opportunity to go up against them again. They've been unbelievable. So, we'll rest up here. I don't know whether we're playing them Saturday or Sunday yet, but we'll enjoy this plane ride, and we'll get back to work right when we land."

One of Shanahan's players, tight end George Kittle, is pumped for the rematch and excited to return to the iconic Lambeau Field. He also knows that the 49ers escaped Sunday's game by the skin of their teeth. It came down to the last play of the game.

"We know we have things we need to get better at, and we need to execute better, but winning is winning when you're in the playoffs," Kittle said. "And we have an opportunity next week to go out and win again. We have an awesome opportunity versus the Packers. And probably Saturday night, awesome, Lambeau Field; I'm really excited about it.

"But we'll definitely take this one and enjoy it, and we've got a short week, and we can't wait for it."

Defensive tackle D.J. Jones is also eager to begin preparations for the 49ers' next playoff opponent. He was asked if he is looking forward to getting another shot at knocking off the Packers.

"I'm ready," Jones declared. "Not right now, but we will be. We definitely will be. They're a great team, obviously, but we're ready for the challenge."

The Packers finished the regular season with the No. 8 ranked pass offense. No. 10 ranked scoring offense.

Rodgers has passed for over 4,000 yards in each of his last four seasons. He tossed 37 touchdown passes compared to just seven interceptions this season. Rodgers was Pro Football Focus' fourth-highest graded quarterback in 2021, and his 68.9 completion percentage ranked third among eligible passers.

"I think it's going to be a pretty good matchup," 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel said after Sunday's game. "We've got to have a good week of preparation, and just get ready, and have everybody on their Ps and Qs, and just go out there and play our ball."

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