What to watch in the Bengals vs. Titans, 49ers vs. Packers

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers, 8:15 p.m. (Fox) In the last seven games for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers has completed 72% of hi...


In the last seven games for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers has completed 72% of his passes and thrown for 20 touchdowns with no interceptions. He is, at 38, still at the top of his game and likely to win his second straight – and fourth overall – Most Valuable Player award.

For all his individual brilliance, Rodgers only played in one Super Bowl, 11 years ago, and since he can figure out where he plays next season, this could be his last opportunity to qualify for another with Green Bay.

The Packers have surrounded Rodgers with his best team since Matt LaFleur took over before the 2019 season, bolstering the defense with cornerbacks Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes and All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. On offense, wide receiver Davante Adams, who recorded single-season highs in receptions (123) and yardage (1,553), is a mismatch no matter what cornerbacks — and how many — defend him.

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon lead a solid rushing offense behind right tackle Billy Turner and center Josh Myers. The Packers will benefit from the potential returns of several of their injured players, including outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, to counter the hottest team remaining in the playoffs. Before kick-off, however, cornerback Jaire Alexander and left tackle David Bakhtiari remained listed as questionable.

To make the playoffs, San Francisco has won seven of its last nine games, including a Week 18 overtime win at the Los Angeles Rams, when Garoppolo powered a comeback from a 17-point first-half deficit.

Garoppolo appeared in a Super Bowl much more recently than Rodgers — just two years ago — but the 49ers, like Green Bay, drafted his presumptive replacement. Garoppolo avoided the rise of Trey Lance by throwing short, fast and in time to the monsters Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and passing, again and again, to Elijah Mitchell and Samuel. San Francisco beat Dallas last week for 169 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

The 49ers’ powerful and diverse running game is capable of devastating Green Bay’s vulnerable running defense, and their front seven, with fast linebackers and a strong pass rush, can undercut a modest secondary. The availability of defensive end Nick Bosa (concussion) and linebacker Fred Warner (ankle) should allow San Francisco to resume the passing rush that generated a 45.8% pressure rate – the team’s season high, according to NFL Next Gen statistics – last week against Dallas.



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Newsrust - US Top News: What to watch in the Bengals vs. Titans, 49ers vs. Packers
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