4 reasons why 49ers will be better vs. Packers this time around

Marquise Goodwin #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is pursued by Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Marquise Goodwin #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is pursued by Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) calls a play against the San Francisco 49ers  Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

49. 8:15 p.m. ET. 42. Fox. Saturday, Jan. 22. 0-0. 1-0. Packers -6

The Packers pulled off a regular-season win over the 49ers in Week 3, but one should expect the Niners to be better in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers will be looking at what worked for them against the San Francisco 49ers way back in Week 3, a Sunday Night Football performance that saw quarterback Aaron Rodgers pull off an exceptional two-minute drill to help execute a Packers last-second 30-28 victory.

The Niners, meanwhile, will be focusing on all the reasons why they’ve improved since what turned into the first loss of their seven over the course of the 2021 regular season.

These two teams get to square off against each other in the NFL playoffs for the second time in three seasons, San Francisco now having the hope of ending Green Bay’s postseason campaign, this time on the road at Lambeau Field.

And while that early regular-season defeat left a sour taste in the 49ers’ collective mouth, there are reasons to point out why the divisional round of the postseason will be awfully different from the Niners’ vantage point.

Why 49ers match up better vs. Packers now than in Week 3

San Francisco fell into a 17-0 hole by the beginning of the second quarter way back in Week 3. After the first half of the 2021 season, the 49ers ranked 22nd in first-half points, averaging just 10 over the first two quarters.

The Niners finished the regular season with 12.2, improving to 12th, suggesting they won’t fall into that kind of hole again.

Let’s look at more reasons.

Reason No. 4: DeMeco Ryans has grown into his role as 49ers coordinator

It’s important to acknowledge DeMeco Ryans was acting in only his third game as defensive coordinator way back in Week 3.

Since then, he’s improved dramatically.

There are a number of reasons why Ryans has gone from a potential assistant on a hot seat to a possible 2022 head-coaching candidate. But one of the key examples has been the massive turnaround of San Francisco’s run defense, which surrendered at least 100 rush yards in seven of its first eight matchups, including allowing 100 to the Packers in Week 3.

Down the stretch, though, that number improved considerably, and the 49ers gave up a 100-yard rushing performance just once (Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks) over their final nine regular-season games, leading to allowing just 77 rush yards to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round.

Judging on this trend, Green Bay won’t be able to move the ball on the ground anywhere as easily as it did back in Week 3.