Bill Barnwell on Sunday's 2014 NFL wildcard playoff games - Grantland
Jared Sperli stashed this in 49ers
Factors for each side. For the Packers, can they finally muster a two-takeaway day against Kaepernick & Co.? Can B.J. Raji, who had a horrible day last year against the read-option, hold his own up front against arguably the league's best interior line? (It would sure be nice for Raji, who is at the end of a contract year.) Will the Packers gain a competitive advantage in a game in which the temperature at kickoff is likely to approach negative 12 degrees? Is Rodgers 100 percent after his collarbone injury, or will the rustiness we saw during the first three quarters of the Bears game continue to rear its head in this contest? And is Eddie Lacy, who is still struggling with an ankle injury after a meaningless halftime draw a few weeks ago, going to cut at anywhere near 100 percent? Can Mike McCarthy somehow avoid being outcoached in terms of in-game strategy by Harbaugh? No to that last one? OK.
It seems a little clearer for the 49ers. Will they beat themselves? Is Crabtree ready to be a threatening receiver, even if he's not back to his former self? If Rodgers is on, can Kaepernick keep up? In negative-12-degree weather? Will they get the old Aldon Smith as opposed to the erratic, inconsistent guy who has been on the field since returning from rehab? Oh, and do they have another trick up their sleeve that they've been saving for the overmatched Packers? My suspicion is that they don't have one — or need one, either.
MINUS 12 DEGREES?! Mother of God, that's cold!