Thanks to the heroic play of Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb, the Packers got by the Chicago Bears on the road last week and bring it home Sunday to entertain the San Francisco 49ers for tomorrow’s Wildcard Playoff match-up.
There’s not much more we can say about this game. The winner moves on, the loser goes home to watch the rest of the playoffs and Super Bowl from the couch. The weather will be brutal and Lambeau Field will be rocking.
Here’s how the staffers at Lombardiave.com are seeing things. Our predictions are not scientific, they are based on how we feel at the moment.
How about you? Agree with our picks? Let us know by leaving a prediction below, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter …
Kevin Gibson: Here we go, kids; this is the Big One. There’s a big, arrogant monkey with a dumb-looking goatee that’s been hanging onto the Green Bay Packers’ backs for nearly a year and a half now, and this is the time to shake that thing for good.
Aaron Rodgers is back. Randall Cobb is back.
That means the Packers’ explosion is back. It’s all up to the defense, and I think the cold weather is going to provide that beleaguered group with an assist. I predict all-out pandemonium. Last team with the ball wins.
Packers 38 49ers 35
Darryl Krejci: Playoffs!
The start of a new season where whatever has happened in the past does not count. So none of my previous predictions mean a thing! I love the start of a new year.
So looking at this game though 14 layers of clothes, I predict that this is going to a major ground battle with the running games being the major factor and the passing attack regulated to an afterthought. With that in mind I believe that Eddie Lacey will have a career day and propel the Packers to victory. I also predict that temperatures will drop below the records established in the Ice Bowl, making this the coldest game ever played at Lambeau and in the NFL.
Packers 21 49ers 14
Tim Thomas: The Packers will have a tough challenge this Sunday as they face the San Francisco 49ers once again which makes this the fourth time in two seasons that these two have met. The Packers have played a lot better when Aaron Rodgers is out there with a 6-2 record in games he has been healthy for the whole time.
San Francisco is unlikely to have Carlos Rogers and that will make it hard for San Francisco to slow down Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jarrett Boykin. The presence of Eddie Lacy will open up space in the passing game for Rodgers to pick apart the San Francisco secondary though Rodgers will feel some pressure from Aldon Smith and Justin Smith.
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been great throwing the football but he has played better over the last few weeks and will provide a respectable passing game. The Packers will have some trouble slowing down Frank Gore who has had a great season for the 49ers. However, the Packers proved in week 1 that they can stop the read-option and they will stop it Sunday. This will be another great game but the Packers will find a way to win on a frigid Sunday afternoon.
Packers 34 49ers 27
Kevin Dickens: In my best Jim Mora voice: Playoffs? We talking about playoffs?
Yes, we are talking about playoffs, folks. And Aaron Rodgers is lights out during them. He has three 300-yard passing games, a 110-plus passer rating in four of his eight starts, and a career postseason passer rating of 103.6. That’s good for third behind Bart Starr (104.8) and Drew Brees (104.2).
As good as he has been the Packers have lacked a running game until this year. Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and the O-Line have become a great complement to No. 12. That will be the difference against San Fran. Being able to balance the offense creates a prolific offense. Too much for even this great San Fran defense to handle.
I know the Packers D is vulnerable but I think one turnover is all they need to make a difference in this game. They have gotten one in five straight games. Now isn’t the time to stop.
Packers win in a bitter cold shootout and move on to face Carolina or Seattle.
Packers 31 49ers 27
Eric Balkman: It’s “deja vu all over again” for the Packers as they take on the 49ers this weekend. This could be the second straight year that San Francisco bookends the Pack’s season. Last year, Green Bay lost in both its first and last games of the season to the 49ers, and the same will be true if they fall this week.
The biggest thing that stands out to me in this game is that Green Bay has shown nothing that would cause me to believe this fourth game in the last two season between these two non-divisional opponents will be any different than the first three. The Packers defense (minus Clay Matthews and Casey Hayward) still do not have an answer for the arm (or legs) of Colin Kaepernick.
Sure the Packers are flying high on euphoria after last week’s last minute win on the road against Chicago. But Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis will all have big days against a defense that sorely needs a change. Even Aaron Rodgers won’t be able to guide the Pack to the conference semis.
49ers 24 Packers 21
Kyle Fellows: Packers fans are elated to be playing in a home playoff game. This rollercoaster season has landed these Green Bay Packers with a chance to play the Niners in the first round of the playoffs.
I predict a close game. Look for a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy early in the game. The Pack will try to establish a ground game against this defense. Rodgers will also have some favorable match-ups against a injury-filled secondary. The key to the game could be in containing Frank Gore. Green Bay must slow the 49ers running attack to have a chance. Expect Sean Richardson to get more time at safety than M.D. Jennings in an attempt to help in run support. The Packers will earn a overdue win against their West Coast foe.
Packers 34 49ers 30
Davey Miller: Man, is it cold outside. I was at the two coldest Detroit games back in the 1990s and did not even consider buying tickets this year to sit in minus-24 degree weather. But it will be the weather that will affect 49ers more because the Packers have played and lived in it the last three weeks.
David Burdette: This game should be one for the ages. The Packers and 49ers face off for the fourth time in two years and the second time with advancing to the next playoff round on the line.The Packers come in with confidence after beating the Chicago Bears on their turf. Aaron Rodgers is back, Randall Cobb is back, and things are looking up. The defense still needs a lot of work, but maybe they won’t see the field that much if Rodgers and Eddie Lacy can stay on it.
On the other side, the 49ers are hot heading into the playoffs with a few wins, but have looked a little sloppy versus Arizona and Atlanta. Will Colin Kaepernick run all over the Packers again? Good chance he won’t be passing given below zero weather. The defense is solid, but may be missing pieces in the secondary.
Who will break first and will home field advantage matter? I’m just not sure, and I don’t want to predict this one. So I’ll just leave this on a GO! PACK! GO!
Patrick Hughes: The easy prediction for this week’s wildcard playoff game is frostbite, and lots of it! Brrrr…
The difficult forecast to make is can the Packers leave the 49ers out in the cold? It will take all the Packers have and then some. I’m not worried about the offense. I am confident that the 1-2 punch of Eddie Lacy and James Starks on the ground and of course Aaron Rodgers and company through the air will put more than enough points on the board to position the Packers to win. But can Dom Capers and the Packers’ defense finally triumph over Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense?
On paper the answer is easy – nope. But the games aren’t played on paper and I am confident that this game has been played on repeat in Dom Capers’ head since the last meeting in September.
It’s going to be an exciting game to watch. Nice and warm in the balmy temperatures of the Northwest I think Capers figures it out. He comes up with just enough least enough to leave the 49ers on the ice of the Frozen Tundra.
Packers 28 49ers 24
Bill Walton: When the Packers host the 49ers Sunday evening we expect a great game.
This should be the best game of the wildcard round. The Packers will want to run the ball and to some extent they should be successful doing so. But the game will come down to which team controls the final eight or so minutes. Much like the Chicago game last week, if the Packers own the ball last they should win.
The game won’t be a low-scoring affair. It’ll be a back-and-forth, see-saw pitched battle that could very well hinge on a big special teams play or timely turnover.
Son John sees the Packers winning it 33-24. Wife Deneen predicts a 28-21 Packers win. I believe the Packers will be balanced on offense and make minimal mistakes on defense, enabling them to win 38-27. Go Pack GO!
Luke Hanish: The Packers have yet another shot at redemption and it will come in one of the most optimal forms. Game time temps have steadily risen throughout the week to somewhere in the neighborhood of zero degrees. What bearing this will have on the game remains to be seen but over the last 10 years the Niners have played in a total of TWO games where the temperature was below 40.
One would think this would favor us, but who knows? Schematically, Dom Capers will need to be creative. The dual threat of Colin Kaepernick has subsided somewhat since week 1 as the passing game is nowhere near what it was then. Expect a heavy dose of Frank Gore as the Niners will likely try to set up a lot of play-action.
Defensively, Andy Mulumba, Mike Neal, and Nick Perry will all have to step up in Matthews’ absence. Offensively it will be interesting to see how much Lacy is used given his ankle and asthma conditions.
Randall Cobb should have a huge impact on the outcome of this game, especially if Carlos Rogers can’t go. You know what you’re going to get with Aaron Rodgers at the helm and with the weather the way it’s supposed to be the defense will make (or break) this one.
I say it breaks with a surprisingly valiant effort.
49ers 26 Packers 24
Ray Rivard: If this game were to be played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, I would have huge questions about the Packers chances. Even with Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb back on the field, the game would be in question.
The great equalizer – the weather – raises its head in all its brutality Sunday. With that said, the game will come down to the Packers stopping the 49ers run game. Like they did in game one of the 2013 season, the Packers defense will figure it out and the Packers’ offense will do enough to pull out a victory on the frozen tundra.
It might be the best game of the weekend … I also feel it will be the a great ending for Packers fans.
Packers 26 49ers 20