NFC championship game prediction: San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
No. 2 Green Bay Packers at No. 1 San Francisco 49ers, 3:30 p.m. PST, Ch. 11
What Packers need to do: They need to get Aaron Jones going and stick with the run. They don’t have to have a huge day running, but they need to slow that 49ers’ pass rush. Green Bay needs to put the clamps on the run, as well as force a turnover — and take advantage of it. And starting fast is key. If the Packers can dial down the crowd a bit, that will be huge. Otherwise, if there’s blood in the water and the volume cranks up, the 49ers will roll.
What 49ers need to do: They’re going to run and use multiple backs. Their defense has to get after Aaron Rodgers just like last time, and with a healthier front the 49ers will have a fresh-legged rotation to do so. They can’t overpursue. Their younger pass rushers can’t get too amped, run past the play, and let Rodgers escape the pocket. That’s when receiver Davante Adams starts moving around, and he and Rodgers will make defenses pay.
Sam Farmer’s pick: For the first time in a while, San Francisco looks like that defense that led the way in the smothering 37-8 humiliation of the Packers in November. Rodgers will keep this one closer. Who knows which running back will step up for Kyle Shanahan? One of them will.
49ERS 26, PACKERS 20
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