In the opener of the 2013 NFL season, the Denver Broncos got revenge on the Baltimore Ravens for last year’s playoff loss. On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will try to do the same thing to the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers beat the Packers 45-31 in last year’s divisional playoff round. Now, the two teams will meet again in Week 1 of the new season.
Colin Kaepernick was the star of the playoff game, doing things that had never been done by a quarterback. The 25-year-old set a record by rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he threw for two more scores and 263 yards.
When Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith midway through last year, not much was known of the quarterback. He was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, but only attempted five passes in his first year. In 2013, he leads the favorite to reach the Super Bowl in the NFC and is one of the top MVP candidates.
Kaepernick is emerging as a a top quarterback in the NFL, but Aaron Rodgers has been among the best for a few years. He didn’t get much playing time in the preseason, but doesn’t seem too concerned about what happened in the team’s exhibition games.
"It's preseason. We had five good drives. No three-and-outs, one sack, we lost the ball on downs, missed a field goal and had three field goals," Rodgers said. "So we had productive drives. The biggest issue is we didn't have our whole team together."
The game is one of just two late afternoon games, so most of the country will be able to see the contest on FOX at 4:25. Viewers in markets that will get St. Louis vs. Arizona on TV can watch a live stream online of Green Bay vs. San Francisco with a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Before they met in the playoffs, the Packers hosted the 49ers in last year’s season opener, as well. Alex Smith and the defending NFC West champs surprised many by handling Green Bay fairly easily, pulling out a 30-22 victory. With Kaepernick at the helm and the game in San Francisco, the 49ers are expected to win again. They are five-point favorites, with the over/under set at 48.
Prediction: Green Bay 28, San Francisco 24