The San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers tonight in a battle between two teams that have had a tremendous rivalry over the past two decades.
When the Packers made back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1996 and 1997, they beat the 49ers in the National Football Conference Playoffs. That run coincided with the Parkers hiring one-time 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren as head coach. Holmgren was the architect of the explosive 49ers attack that included a Super Bowl win to complete the 1994 season.
The Packers dominance over San Francisco carried through the 2010 season, a year in which Green Bay won Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steerlers.
The dominance turned in the 49ers direction beginning in 2012, that year Colin Kapernick set an all-time rushing record for a quarterback with 181 yards while leading San Francisco to a win over the Packers in the playoffs. After four straight wins by San Francisco over Green Bay, the rivalry has been a give-and-take. The 49ers advanced to Super Bowl LIV with a win over the Packers in the NFC Championship game two years ago and lost last season at Levi’s Stadium in a regular season matchup, 34-17.
In other words, these two teams have a history.
They also are both in need of a win tonight.
The 49ers have opened the season with a pair of road victories over the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. They play in pro football’s toughest division, and any slip by a team in the NFC West could spell doom for postseason hopes.
The Packers look to avenge for the second straight week their opening lopsided loss to the New Orleans Saints, 38-3. The blowout season opening loss endured by Aaron Rodgers and company was a huge surprise to the favored Packers. They reversed the result in a second week victory over the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football and now travel to San Francisco off a short work week.
The 49ers were installed as a four point pick, but the line has been sliced to three points while a solid majority of the wagering action is backing Rodgers on the road.
So, what does that leave us with tonight?
A pair of Super Bowl hopefuls that each have a win over Detroit while the 49ers also beat their other opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, last week at Lincoln Financial Field.
We are going to get a very important question answered in this game, are the Packers in trouble?
The off season was filled with drama in Green Bay while Aaron Rodgers never got the long term deal he was seeking and in all likelihood is playing his last season with the Packers. Does that put him in a position to excel, or serve as a detriment to his team’s unity?
I’ll take B, and expect a 49ers win tonight but without a wager while recognizing that a home victory would move the Niners to 3-0 and drop the Packers to 1-2. These teams are just too balanced to expect one of them to jump two games ahead of the other three games into the season.
But, I still see that as a more likely outcome than a home loss for Kyle Shanahan’s talented squad.