2012-13 Divisional Playoff Preview: Packers @ 49ers[caption id="attachment_22658" align="aligncenter" width="448"] Dan Powers / Gannett Wisconsin Media[/caption] And so the wheel has come full circle my friends…these two teams started their respective seasons back on September 9 at Lambeau Field and now the season will end for one of these two NFC powerhouses with this playoff matchup. Back on that Sunday, the 49ers beat the Packers 30-22 on their home frozen tundra. With that big win against a quality opponent, they signalled to the league that they really could live up to big expectations. When and Where: Sunday January 13, 12:00pm @ Candlestick Park, SF. Coverage: LIVE on ESPN, ESPN HD and ONE w/Replay on ESPN and ESPN2 at 9:30pm (See TV Guide for details). Last week, Green Bay beat divisional rivals Minnesota 24-10 in their Wild Card game. Granted the Vikings were beaten-up with injury, particularly with Christian Ponder out and Joe Webb in. (Sidenote: I think Webb’s game may have been the worst QB playoff performance I’ve ever seen – and yes, I did see Tebow vs New England last year!) Be that as it may, the Packers look like they’re coming good at the right time. It’s hard to read too much into their defensive play, but having safety Charles Woodson back from injury definitely added much needed calm, experience and poise as they ‘shut down’ Adrian Peterson – keeping him to only 99 yards (Yes, AP gets my MVP vote!) Really though, the Packers are all about their passing game. They’ve got all five of Aaron Rodgers’ top receiving targets healthy for the first time all year and Rodgers himself looked phenomenal. Green Bay has scored 40 TDs for the year, second only to the Patriots with 43 and one of their supreme strengths is sharing the ball around - four of their receivers (Cobb, Jones, Nelson and Finlay) have over 650 receiving yards this season. Watch Rodgers' eyes when he drops back in the pocket for a while and you'll see his eyes move through his progressions (each potential pass target) quickly - he doesn't get fixated on one WR (See: Cutler, Jay in relation to Marshall, Brandon). This sort of play keeps defences honest and allows you to win playoff games. San Francisco has had a week off to get healthy and prepare for this game and they’ve got no injuries to worry about. In particular, watch for their pro-bowl defensive end Justin Smith who returns after missing the last two games of the regular season – it’s always nice to be able to bring back a dominant pass rusher who has averaged seven sacks per season since joining San Francisco in 2008. Jim Harbaugh has also had plenty of time to look at game film of the Packers and prepare. The 9ers will start Colin Kaepernick at QB again, to spearhead their attack. Now, if the Packers are all about the pass, then the 49ers are all about the run. They've got the third ranked running game in the NFL, averaging 5.1 yards every time they run the ball! In addition they take care of the ball, only losing three fumbles all year. Watch out for: Aaron Rodgers if this one stays close in the fourth quarter. This season in the fourth quarter, when the game is seven or less points the difference, Aaron Rodgers passing stats are: 48 for 72, 594 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 119.8! Final word and prediction: No surprises here – the Packers bring one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, whereas the 49ers bring a brilliant defence and that running game. To me, this game is all about Aaron Rodgers – if he can pick apart the 49ers who have the second best pass defence in the league, then they’ll win this one. However, Green Bay hasn’t been consistent enough for my liking, while the 49er defence has. I’ll take San Francisco in a shootout 32-28.