and are heading in two different directions as the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers prepare for Sunday's game on the West Coast. Rodgers is the reigning MVP who is somehow managing to look even better in 2015, while Kaepernick has taken another huge step backward in his development.
Kaepernick's slide, which has been picking up speed since 2013, bottomed against the Arizona Cardinals last week when he threw four picks as thedropped to 1-2 with a humiliating 47-7 loss.
It was a return visit to Arizona for Kaepernick, who spent part of the offseason working with former Arizona defensive backs were bragging postgame about how easy it was to anticipate routes and break on the ball.quarterback Kurt Warner on becoming a more consistent pocket passer. While he has had good moments this season -- going 33-of-46 for 335 yards and two touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 -- he looked lost against the Cardinals. His struggle to read defenses has led to a simplified offensive game plan, to the point that
Niners coach Jim Tomsula insisted that Kaepernick will remain his starter "no matter what happens."
Things couldn't be any different in Green Bay, where Rodgers is just making the job look simple. He took apart a soliddefense with ease on Monday night, gliding through a fearsome pass rush, extending plays and firing off lasers as he racked up five touchdowns in a 38-28 home win that wasn't as close as the score suggests. He leads the league in touchdown passes and passer rating, he's only been sacked three times and has yet to throw a pick. And he's doing all of it with his No. 1 receiver shelved for the season.
This week, he'll be facing a struggling San Francisco pass defense that has allowed 90 points in its last two games and has been completely unable to slow down opposing passing attacks. In Week 2, Ben Roethlisberger went 21 for 27 for 369 yards and three touchdowns as the Steelers routed the 49ers 43-18, and Carson Palmer threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona.
The' defense has shown notable improvement, particularly in the pass rushing department -- the Pack sacked seven times on Monday night. (three sacks, nine QB hurries this season) is quietly establishing himself as one of the better 3-4 ends in the league, and is still taking time out from his new job at middle linebacker to terrorize quarterbacks off the edge in passing downs (he nabbed his first two sacks of the season against the Chiefs). The Niners' line is shaky, having allowed eight sacks in three games, and Kaepernick had a passer rating of just 2.8 while being pressured in Arizona.
As unlikely as it seems after last week, Kaepernick should have some confidence playing the Packers. He's beaten them twice in the playoffs and put up 412 yards and three touchdowns against them in a 2013 win. If he gets off to a good start Sunday afternoon, it could keep San Francisco in the game, but the defense will have to take a huge step forward if they want to stop Rodgers.
How to Watch
When: 4:25 p.m. ET
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews
Online: Fox Sports Go