49ers vs. Packers: NFL playoffs Q&A with Lombardi Ave.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

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

The 49ers visit the Packers for the NFL playoffs divisional round, so Niner Noise joined forces with Lombardi Ave. to preview this rivalry matchup.

San Francisco 49ers fans must be thinking they’re living in the 1990s.

First, there was the longtime rivalry win over the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round, the first time those two squads squared off in the NFL playoffs since January of 1995. Up next, the Niners take to the road again for a highly anticipated divisional-round showdown with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, owners of the NFC’s No. 1 seed and beneficiaries of the first-round playoff bye.

Aside from Rodgers, it sure feels like a complete running of those great San Francisco teams of the 1990s and their playoff bouts versus Green Bay and Dallas.

Rodgers is 0-3 against the 49ers in the postseason, but the Packers do hold the bragging rights after knocking the Niners off way back in Week 3 at Levi’s Stadium earlier this season.

With the game taking place at Lambeau Field, will Green Bay make it 2-0 against San Francisco?

To give a better rundown and to look at the perspective from the other side of the gridiron, Niner Noise teamed up with our FanSided sister site, Lombardi Ave., and site expert Freddie Boston to see what’s on tap for this NFC divisional-round showdown.

49ers vs. Packers: Niner Noise goes behind enemy lines with Lombardi Ave.

NN: There was no shortage of smoke about Aaron Rodgers wanting out from Green Bay after this season, but a lot of that seems to have died down. If you had to bet, is Rodgers unquestionably back with the Packers next season?

"LA: There definitely seems to have been a shift towards Aaron Rodgers potentially staying in Green Bay, something that looked to be completely off the table last summer. Still, we’re set for a fascinating offseason as all three scenarios are very much in play. Rodgers hasn’t even committed to playing in 2022 and could retire.If Rodgers does play, my guess is he remains in Green Bay, but I don’t say that with much certainty."

NN: The Packers steamrolled through the season after that anomaly against the Saints way back in Week 1. But if you had to address some key roster weaknesses, what would you look to upgrade and why?

"LA: Far and away the Packers’ biggest weakness is special teams. They rank No. 30 in kick returns and No. 21 in punt returns. They still have no clear choice to return kicks and punts. Even the ever-reliable [kicker] Mason Crosby has struggled, converting just 73.5% of his field-goal attempts.Green Bay’s run defense is also a concern. The unit has improved since the 2019 NFC Championship loss to San Francisco, but work still needs to be done. The Packers rank No. 11 in run defense but have faced just 395 rushing attempts, in part because they are usually ahead. They are allowing 4.7 yards per carry, third-most in the NFL."

NN: With the 49ers visiting the Packers in the divisional round, what would be some of your concerns about how the Niners can manage an upset despite being underdogs?

"LA: It comes down to the 49ers’ run game. This would scare me most if I were [Packers head coach] Matt LaFleur. If San Francisco keeps the game close and commits to the run, Green Bay’s defense could have real problems.The way to beat this dominant Packers team is to run the ball well and keep Rodgers off the field, while also winning with defense. Sounds like the 49ers to me."

NN: If you were head coach Kyle Shanahan, how would you go about attacking Green Bay’s defense?

"LA: Run and run and run until the Packers prove they can stop it. He took this approach in the NFC title game two years ago and it worked beautifully. This is how the 49ers win this game.If it becomes a battle of the QBs, there’s only one winner."

Read More: Niners should be happy facing Packers in divisional round

NN: Aside from the obvious studs, Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams, what other offensive weapons should San Francisco fans be worried about during the game?

"LA: The Packers could have three starting offensive linemen back for this game. All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and impressive rookie center Josh Myers came back in Week 18 in a limited role. Right tackle Billy Turner could also be back. He was having an excellent season before getting hurt.Another player to watch is running back A.J. Dillon. The Packers have leaned on him in cold-weather games at home and to great effect. He’s built for January football. Dillon averages 4.3 yards per carry and wears defenses down. This could be a big Dillon game."

NN: The Packers win because… the 49ers win because…

"LA: The Packers win if they can contain the 49ers’ ground game and win the turnover battle. Rodgers has only thrown one interception at Lambeau Field this season. When the Packers are ahead at home, it’s hard for opposing teams to come back to win.On the flip side, if the 49ers make a fast start like they did versus the Cowboys, it’s game on. San Francisco has the rushing attack and defense to leave Lambeau Field with a win."

Green Bay is certainly thinking about what happened in the NFC Championship two seasons ago when running back Raheem Mostert ran wild to the tune of 220 yards and four touchdowns, helping the Niners steamroll the Packers 37-20 in a game where the final score makes it seem closer than it actually was.

Of course, Rodgers will want to finally get that elusive playoff win against his boyhood team, and this year might be the best context for him to do it.

That’ll be a storyline to watch when both teams kick off at Lambeau Field on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, be sure to follow Freddie Boston on Twitter — @FreddieBoston — and go follow Lombardi Ave. on Twitter, too — @LombardiAve.

Next. 5 biggest takeaways from 49ers Wild Card win vs. Cowboys. dark