No. 1: 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
OK, so Jimmy Garoppolo and Aaron Rodgers won’t actually face off opposite each other. Either way, in whatever context you like, picking Rodgers 10 times out of 10 in a shootout over Garoppolo would be the smart bet.
Here’s the thing, though: Garoppolo doesn’t have to win a shootout against Rodgers. In fact, that might be the quickest way for San Francisco to lose Week 3.
Garoppolo can get by with simply being effective on Sunday. This is the kind of contest where a bone-headed turnover or two, thereby giving Rodgers extra possessions, could ultimately determine the outcome. In contrast, Rodgers needs to be the Packers’ X-factor, as they’re lacking on the defensive side of the ball to cover up any would-be bad game from the future Hall of Famer.
Rodgers isn’t likely to have a bad game, no. At least not in light of his 5-3 career record against the 49ers with a 106.9 passer rating over those eight games.
Yet if Garoppolo plays smart, avoids the turnovers and is timely enough with his third-down tosses, that could easily be enough to decide what happens Sunday night.
The Niners and Packers kick off on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 8:20 p.m. ET from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.