The Packers (7-4) host the 49ers (4-7) at Lambeau Field Sunday and while the records are opposite, the stakes are exactly the same. Both teams are just one game out of first place in their respective divisions. The Niners trail Seattle at St. Louis is the weak NFC West while the Packers are a game behind the front running Chicago Bears in the North. It's the Packers first home game since November 7 when the routed the Dallas Cowboys 45-7. Green Bay will be wearing throwback uniforms, honoring the 1929 NFL Champions of Curley Lambeau by donning navy blue jersies with a gold circle and number on the front, tan pants and plain brown helmets, symbolic of the old leather helmets of days gone by. Green Bay leads the all-time series with San Francisco 29-25-1, winning 4 of five playoff matchups in the heydey of the series in the 1990's. The Packers are 12-4 all time against the Niners in Green Bay including a pair of playoff victories.
The running game is a big issue for both teams, the Packers have to find a way to generate some yardage on the ground after backs picked up only 26 in last week's loss in Atlanta. San Francisco must replace not only their leading rusher in Frank Gore, but their leading receiver as well. Gore had piled up more than 1300 yards of offense before fracturing his hip last Monday night in Arizona. Troy Smith has taken over for Alex Smith at quarterback, winning three of four starts for the Niners. He has a pair of excellent downfield weapons in wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. Pro Bowl middle linebacker Patrick Willis spearheads a defense that holds opponents to 98 yards a game rushing.
What are the Packers saying about the matchups? Click on the link below to hear interview highlights and come back to blog Sunday night for a recap and analysis of the game.