GREEN BAY (12-6) at SAN FRANCISCO (13-5-1)
KICKOFF, TV: 3:25 p.m., FOX
OPENING LINE: 49ers by 5 1/2
RECORD VS. SPREAD: Green Bay 10-8-0, San Francisco 11-8-0
SERIES RECORD: Packers lead 34-28-1
LAST MEETING: 49ers beat Packers, 45-31, Jan. 12
AP PRO32 RANKING: Packers, No. 7; 49ers, No. 1
PACKERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (20), PASS (9)
PACKERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (17), PASS (11)
49ERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (4), PASS (23)
49ERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (3), RUSH (4), PASS (4)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES: Rematch of NFC divisional playoff game won by 49ers at Candlestick Park. Overall, Green Bay has won 13 of its last 16 games against the 49ers but dropped the season opener last year at Lambeau Field, 30-22, then the playoff game. ... 49ers' Jim Harbaugh looks to become first coach in franchise history to win each of his first three season openers. ... The Green Bay defense gave up the most total yards (579), yards rushing (323) and second-most points in the playoffs in franchise history in Jan. 12 game. The 49ers had 48 offensive plays in the first half to 20 by Green Bay. ... Microscope will be on Packers' offensive line, most notably rookie LT David Bahktiari in place of injured Bryan Bulaga. ... 49ers WR Anquan Boldin makes San Francisco debut after beating his new team in Super Bowl with Baltimore. ... 49ers' Colin Kaepernick ran for quarterback-record 181 yards vs. Packers in playoffs with two TDs rushing and two more passing. Joined Jay Cutler in 2011 and Otto Graham in 1954 and 1955 as the only players with two rushing and two passing touchdowns in a playoff game. ... Aaron Rodgers' streak of 183 passes without an interception spanning five games ended in playoff game when Tarell Brown picked off ball on a deep third-down throw in the second quarter. ... 49ers TE Vernon Davis has TD catch in each of his four regular-season games with Green Bay. ... San Francisco RB Frank Gore ran for 112 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown in 2012 season opener at Lambeau. Gore also had 130 yards on 18 carries and a TD against Packers on Dec. 10, 2006. ... 49ers rookie and top draft pick FS Eric Reid earns first NFL start as replacement for departed Dashon Goldson. ... Packers rookie Eddie Lacy, the former Alabama star, makes debut as Green Bay's starting running back.
PACKER REPORT PREDICTION: The challenge is about as daunting as can be for a season-opening game. The 49ers return a veteran-laden, star-studded defense. The Packers enter the game with the least-experienced tackle tandem in the NFL, not to mention a rookie running back. They have no idea about their kicker and no idea about the reliability and productivity of their returner(s). For all the words written about Colin Kaepernick and the read-option and 579 yards — and we wrote plenty of words on those topics — the Packers’ defense isn’t the issue. After Sunday, the Packers will be down but they won’t be out. The offensive tackles will get better. Eddie Lacy changes everything in the backfield. And a defense that should be good from the get-go should get stronger as the season progresses. So, maybe this is just Round 1. 49ers 27, Packers 17.
Find Genaro Armas on Twitter at twitter.com/GArmasAP.