The Green Bay Packers will play their first playoff game this season on Saturday night when they host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. The game will be a big test for the Packers as San Francisco has been one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch. The 49ers also create matchup challenges for the Packers which will be discussed throughout the week leading up to the game.
Here is a look at five Packers players besides Aaron Rodgers who must play well if the Packers hope to win Saturday’s game against San Francisco:
- RB A.J. Dillon
The Packers will have to run the football well if they hope to win this game. The weather is expected to be cold and that means we should see a steady dose of A.J. Dillon running up the middle.
The 49ers run defense is strong, ranking seventh in the league. Dillon and Aaron Jones will be called upon to keep the defense honest and the chains moving.
In addition to running the ball, Dillon and Jones will be called upon to help in pass protection and to catch passes out of the backfield.
- ILB De’Vondre Campbell
Campbell made the All Pro team for the first time in his NFL career this season and he deserved it. Campbell has several important roles in Joe Barry’s defense including calling signals and making sure the team is in the right defense at the line of scrimmage.
The Packers also sometimes rely on Campbell to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. Against San Francisco, that may mean Campbell has to slow down tight end George Kittle or fullback Kyle Juszcyzk or Eli Mitchell coming out of the backfield.
Campbell can also make stops against the run and slowing down the 49ers running game will be a big key on Saturday.
The Packers are counting on Campbell to be a leader on defense against San Francisco.
- WR Davante Adams
Adams is Rodgers’ favorite target and one of the top receivers in the game. He has also had some monster games against the 49ers during his career.
In Week 3 this season, Adams caught 12 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. In 2020, Tae caught 10 passes for 173 yards and a score and in 2018, he had a 10-catch effort for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
Even in the Packers blowout loss in the 2019 NFC Championship Game, Adams caught nine passes for 138 yards.
San Francisco’s cornerbacks are vulnerable and Adams should have a favorable matchup. The Packers will need Adams to have a big game to make the offense explosive and consistent.
- DL Kenny Clark
The 49ers rely on the run game to make their offense go. Kenny Clark is the Packers best interior defensive lineman and his ability to either hold at the point of attack or penetrate on running plays will be vital for the Green Bay defense.
Clark can also supply pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the interior and that gives the Green Bay pass rush another dimension.
If the 49ers can’t run effectively, they will struggle to move the football and Clark is an integral part of the Packers run defense.
- OT David Bakhtiari
The 49ers have a strong pass rush and were fifth in the league with 48 sacks. Their most dangerous pass rusher is Nick Bosa who had 15.5 of those sacks. The Packers will rely on their offensive line to keep Bosa away from Rodgers.
David Bakhtiari will be back at left tackle after making his season debut in the season finale in Detroit. He played the first half and looked good while getting the rust off.
The Packers will be counting on Bakhtiari and the rest of the offensive line to give Rodgers time to throw and work his magic. It is up to Bakhtiari to protect Rodgers’ blind side.
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