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Packers vs. 49ers: Five key matchups

Posted Jan 11, 2013

1. Packers wide receivers vs. 49ers cornerbacks—The 49ers secondary won round one; it covered the Packers wide receivers step for step, eliminating the big play from the Packers arsenal.

2. Marshall Newhouse vs. Aldon Smith—Justin Smith will be back and that might give Aldon Smith the boost he needs to come out of his sack slump. Assuming Don Barclay will get help on the right side against Ahmad Brooks, Newhouse could find himself on an island against the Smiths and the twists and stunts they like to use.

3. Packers linebackers vs. Colin Kaepernick—The read-option is all about making the linebackers miss. They must not miss.

4. Packers defensive front vs. Frank Gore—It all starts with stopping Gore. If the Packers can’t do that, Kaepernick won’t be a factor one way or the other. The Packers must stop Gore and put the game in the hands of a quarterback in his first postseason start.

5. Aaron Rodgers vs. the world—He’s “The Man.” He’s the star of this team and the centerpiece of both Mike McCarthy’s offense and Packer Nation’s hope. On him, everything ultimately rests, and he’s never rejected the burden.

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