4 reasons to be excited about 49ers playoff chances in 2021

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: No Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay could change balance of power in NFC

Speaking of the schedule, the 49ers host the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, and there’s still an awfully good chance MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ disgruntled holdout is carrying over into the regular season.

Granted, these things can change fast. But the latest scoop has Rodgers wanting out, and the Packers aren’t intending to give in either.

If Rodgers returns, Green Bay isn’t just a playoff-hopeful team. It’s a top Super Bowl contender despite the Niners thwarting the Packers’ plans in early 2020 during that season’s playoffs. Yet if Rodgers isn’t in the mix, it’s hard to see Green Bay getting to 10 wins with its 2019 first-round quarterback, Jordan Love, suddenly thrust into a prominent starting role.

The NFC West would still be a juggernaut, and other conference teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys could turn things around after being disappointing a year ago.

And don’t count out the defending champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, either.

All that said, though, potentially eliminating one top playoff contender from the equation opens up the door for San Francisco to have a much easier road into the postseason.

Especially if a Week 3 win over the Packers winds up turning into some kind of tiebreaker.