The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers faced off in the playoffs last year, and the former had no answer for the latter. San Francisco then won the meeting between the two teams in Week 1 of this season. Will the Niners continue their streak? There are plenty of players who will make an impact for both teams, but we'll take a look at some of the low-key players who could make a difference below.
Randall Cobb, WR
Randall Cobb was the hero of Week 17 for the Packers, making the most of his two receptions for two touchdowns, including a 48-yarder on fourth down inside the final minute of the fourth quarter. Cobb had sat out since mid-October with a broken leg before returning and should be an even bigger part of the Packers' passing attack in the playoffs. He also allows Jordy Nelson to play more extensively on the outside, where Nelson's skillset is better suited. In sum, Cobb's return makes the Packers a more dangerous offensive team. Period.
Andrew Quarless, TE
Andrew Quarless has come into his own late in the season. He recorded season-highs of six receptions in Weeks 14 and 15, catching one touchdown both weeks. He has become a reliable option in Jermichael Finley's absence and given the Packers a much-needed intermediate threat with Jordy Nelson and James Jones sucking up targets on the outside. He has also proven adept at paving the way for Eddie Lacy in the running game.
Mike Daniels, DE/DT
With Clay Matthews out, the pass-rushing onus falls on second-year defensive lineman Mike Daniels, who has been something of a revelation this season. He is unconventionally built at 6', 291 pounds, but he has been perhaps Green Bay's defensive MVP this season. Daniels' 6.5 sacks only lag behind Matthews' 7.5 quarterback takedowns, and Daniels has played a much bigger role than Matthews as a run stopper. Taking on a balanced 49ers squad, Daniels' versatility could prove pivotal to the Packers' success.
Quinton Patton, WR
Quinton Patton was immediately put ahead of A.J. Jenkins, the failed first-round pick from last season who was eventually traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. But Patton was soon injured and fell behind the rest of the pack. The rookie only recently returned to the lineup, and with Mario Manningham injured and both Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree demanding primary coverage, he had an opportunity to make something big happen.
Patton came through against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. He had two receptions for 34 yards and one end-around for 26 yards, but all three plays showed quick-twitch ability and shifty speed, something the 49ers desperately need. Patton caught a 22-yard pass with 2 seconds left in the game to help the 49ers kick a field goal and win it in regulation.
Mike Iupati, G
When Mike Iupati went down with injury and Adam Snyder took over at the left guard spot, there was a definite drop in rushing production. Frank Gore loves to follow behind Iupati above all else, and while Snyder probably isn't given enough credit for his play at times, he's definitely no Iupati. He's played over the past couple weeks, but Gore has struggled. Iupati hasn't been 100 percent just yet, but he's getting there.
Eric Wright, CB
The 49ers like what cornerback Eric Wright brings to the table. He's solid in coverage, quicker than Carlos Rogers and should be fresh for Sunday's game. Wright tweaked his hamstring in practice this week, but Rogers is dealing with an injury of his own that might keep him out. That would likely put Tramaine Brock on Green Bay's top receivers, and it should mean that Wright gets some solid playing time. He has underrated ball skills and could easily find himself with an interception on Sunday.