Sunday Sunday Sunday: Packers, 49ers set for playoff rematch

The last time these two teams met, in the Divisional round of the playoffs last season, the Packers were left dumbfounded by Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers speedy new offense. Did Dom Capers learn anything about the read option in the offseason?

WHERE

Candlestick Park

When

4:25 PM

How

Channel

The last time the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers played was in an NFC divisional game last season. San Francisco won by 14 points, but it didn't feel that close.

Colin Kaepernick did what he'd been doing since taking over in the middle of the season, confounding defenses and forcing NFL beat writers to Google the pistol formation. It's not easy to make Aaron Rodgers the second-best quarterback on the field, but the Niners' signal caller did just that with a record-setting 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go with a pair of scores through the air.

Since embarrassing the Packers defense, Mike McCarthy sent Dom Capers, his defensive coordinator, door-to-door around the college coaching ranks, looking for someone to help them figure out this newfangled offense. And the Packers swear they now know how to defend something other than the standardized pocket passer.

Did it work? Ask me after this week's rematch with the 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh's 49ers open the season with some questions of their own to left to answer. Chief among those concerns is whether or not the offense can build on its success last season without Michael Crabtree, Kaepernick's favorite target in the passing game. Anquan Boldin was acquired to be the No. 2 receiver, but Crabtree's torn Achilles forces him into the top spot.

An NFC divisional round rematch and a potential playoff preview -- not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in September.

Prediction: 49ers 34, Packers 27

Players to Watch

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COLIN KAEPERNICK

ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski gave his friends at "First Take" something to chew on when he proclaimed that he could be the best quarterback ever. This will be Kaepernick's first full season as a starter. No pressure, kid.

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ALDON SMITH

Is this the year that someone breaks the single-season record for sacks? The 49ers' third-year pass rusher could get a head start on it this week after Green Bay lost its starting left tackle in the preseason.

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Eddie Lacy

Draft experts had the Alabama product pegged to go in the first round this year. He slipped to the end of the second, and the Packers saw the chance to give themselves a real running game for the first time in years. Roll Pack?

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Nick Perry

It didn't help the Packers defense that its first-round pick played all of six games before a wrist injury ended his season. Perry's back this year, and his athleticism will be important to ending Dom Capers' nightmare.

Location

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There's gold in them thar suburbs. The 49ers end their run in Candlestick Park this season. After that, it's off to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, nestled between tech giants like Google and Apple at the south end of the Bay.

Like all Yelp reviews, "The Stick" gets three stars, but this isn't the law of averages at work. One reviewer summed it up nicely as a one-star dump with three-star memories. If you go, remember that you have to pack all of your things in a clear plastic bag now. You can conveniently purchase them from the team store, or make your own by fashioning a hobo bindle out of sandwich bags and bread ties.

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