The San Francisco 49ers defense take on the Green Bay Packers offense is a dream match-up given to the nation to watch on opening weekend. A match-up that so many wanted in the NFC Championship fell short thanks to the New York Giants winning their second Super Bowl in the last five seasons.
Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman and Justin Smith (Aldon Smith All-Rookie) were all on the All-Pro squad last season, and they all obliterate the opposition up close and personnel.
Who can slow down this Packers prolific offense you ask?
Well, the Niners are loaded with freaks all over the field as their hard-hitting, fast-flying relentless defense could care less about your feelings.
Carlos Rogers is a solid corner and they have a safety that gives every offensive coordinator is one of the most underrated players in all of football.
Folks, meet safety Dashon Goldson at 6’2”, 200-pounds out of the University of Washington. The former Husky is one of the best safety’s in the NFL as he has no regards for human kind as he is essentially an extra linebacker on the field that just happens to be playing in the secondary.
Offensively, Frank Gore (always gets dinged though) will be the workhorse for the Niners although they do have the likes of Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James for good measure as well.
Those four backs may just collectively be the best in the league, but they need all of them to stay healthy since they all work well together. If one man goes down it will change their roles and put more of the onus on a quarterback that many still have questions about.
Alex Smith really turned some heads and while Jim Harbaugh is one of the finest coaches in America, the poise and accuracy is something that was impressive from the former Utah Ute.
The savvy we saw from the former number one pick was not only encouraging, but tight end Vernon Davis really has the chance to become a consistent star if he can remain on the same page with Smith.
While even I still have some doubts on Smith in the clutch towards January, adding Mario Manningham and Randy Moss isn’t a bad idea. Moss will be starting opposite of Michael Crabtree, but it was Manningham that hauled in the biggest reception of the NFL season last year.
Winning the Super Bowl and knocking off the Niners in the NFC Championship should add some experience and talent out wide for an offensive team that was just that in previous seasons.
Also, when you throw in the all-time single season record holding kicker in David Akers (166), this squad will be tough to beat even in an improving NFC West.
Wait, how the hell did I just push the “MVP Champ” to the side?
Well, Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game and it was borderline absurd with the numbers Rodgers posted last season in arguably the toughest division in football.
Green Bay has a tough stretch with the Niners and Bears coming to Lambeau, but the skill players are as good as it gets in the NFL.
Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley are the trio of stars that are nearly impossible to prevent from getting deep behind your defense. Rodgers is arguably a more accurate signal-caller than the majority of quarterbacks while he is on the move compared to QBs that have all day in the pocket standing still.
The reining MVP and the games best has a rifle along with his athletic wheels, which should give the Niners some issues in the fourth quarter.
Look for a few quick strikes early on (hyped games rarely live up to it), which will allow Alex Smith to be forced to take shots down the field.
It will be the Packers that make a bold statement against the best defense in the NFL, and an improved defense should make up for what could turn into a surprising comfortable victory for those cheeseheads.
Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern
Network: FOX (714)
Experts Pick: Packers by 4.5
Danny V’s Pick: Packers 31, Niners 16