49ers-Packers in a Week 1 rematch

January 5, 2013, 7:30 pm
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The 49ers' first playoff game will be against the same opponent they defeated to kick off the regular season four months ago.

The Green Bay Packers, a 24-10 winner over the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card round, will visit Candlestick Park next Saturday in an NFC divisional-round matchup at 5 p.m. The winner will move on to the NFC Championship game on Jan. 20.

NBC's Michelle Tafoya asked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers what kind of different Packers team the 49ers will see in the playoffs.

"Well, they're different as well," Rodgers said. "Colin (Kaepernick) has been playing really well for them. They have a great defense. They have a talented offense as well. It's going to be a tough challenge for us. We got to get healthy. It's a different team. We've had some new guys come in. DeJuan (Harris) is running the ball for us really well. We have our guys (receivers) back. We got to get ready this week for a big test."

When the teams met at Lambeau Field in Week 1, Alex Smith was the 49ers' quarterback. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. And Colin Kaepernick made his first contribution after a rookie season of inactivity when he tore off on a 17-yard run before halftime to help set up David Akers' 63-yard field goal.

Yes, things have changed a little since then.

Kaepernick will make his eighth start and his first in the playoffs. And Akers will have to defeat free-agent pickup Billy Cundiff in a practice-field competition to win the right to perform as the 49ers' kicker in the playoff opener.

Running back Frank Gore gained 112 yards on 16 carries against a Packers defense that ranked 17th in the NFL in run defense. Gore had a 23-yard touchdown run with 8:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, one play after NaVorro Bowman intercepted a Rodgers pass and returned it 11 yards.

Kendall Hunter, who is out for the season after undergoing season-ending Achilles surgery, added 41 yards on nine carries.

Rodgers completed 30 of 44 passes for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interceptions. Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Carlos Rogers recorded sacks for the 49ers.

Randall Cobb caught each of the nine passes thrown his way, but with just an 8.6-yard average. He averaged 12.4 yards per catch the rest of the season.

Perrish Cox, who played a season-high 51 of the 49ers' 68 defensive plays, was mostly responsible for Cobb. Patrick Willis, who came off the field most of the time when the 49ers went with six defensive backs, played 46 snaps. That will be one of the subplots in the upcoming playoff game: How often will Willis be on the sideline when the Packers feature four wide receivers?

Left tackle Joe Staley did a good job against Packers' outside linebacker Clay Matthews in the run game. But Matthews recorded 2.5 of the Packers' four sacks of Smith.

49ers 30, Packers 22
Week 1, Sept. 9, 2012
Scoring summary
49ers: David Akers 40 FG, 3-0, 1st quarter
49ers: Randy Moss 14 pass from Alex Smith (Akers kick), 10-0, 2nd quarter
Packers: Jermichael Finley 1 pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick), 10-7, 2nd quarter
49ers: Akers 43 FG, 13-7, 2nd quarter
49ers: Akers 63 FG, 16-7, 2nd quarter
49ers: Vernon Davis 4 pass from Smith (Akers kick), 23-7, 3rd quarter
Packers: Randall Cobb 75 punt return (Rodgers to Jordy Nelson two-point conversion), 23-15, 4th quarter
49ers: Frank Gore 23 run (Akers kick), 30-15, 4th quarter
Packers: James Jones 10 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 30-22, 4th quarter