Week 1: Green Bay Packers Vs. San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay Packers v San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
Winner In an era that has seen incredible quarterback play from Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers just may be the best in the business. He is athletic, accurate and has a strong arm that allows the Packers to light up the scoreboard.
Alex Smith had the best year of his career in 2011 as he developed a great rapport with head coach Jim Harbaugh and made excellent decisions. However, Smith has not put together two good seasons in a row and he could struggle.
Winner The Packers have the best group of receivers in the league and Rodgers spreads the ball around to Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver and tight end Jermichael Finley. The Packers merely use the running game to take pressure off of Rodgers.
The 49ers are going to have a diverse ground game with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and former New York Giant Brandon Jacobs all seeing action. Tight end Vernon Davis is a powerful man who can get open and make big plays downfield.
The Packers can’t match the 49ers for defensive firepower, but they can perform much better than they did last year. Linebacker Clay Matthews is smart, nasty and fast. Nose tackle B.J. Raji is built like a refrigerator with short legs. He can shut down the running game if he does not get tired.
Winner The 49ers under Harbaugh and defensive Vic Fangio preach hard hitting and tackling better than any other team in the league. Defensive end Justin Smith is a work horse and a powerful tackler. Middle linebacker Patrick Willis struggled with injuries last season but the 49ers got a lift from speedy NaVorro Bowman
Special Teams
Winner The Packers are fairly happy with Mason Crosby at the placekicker slot after making 24-of-28 field goals a year ago. Punter Tim Masthay has a big leg but he outkicks his coverage at times.
Winner The 49ers should have an edge over nearly every opponent on special teams. The duo of placekicker David Akers and punter Andy Lee is a superb combination. Ted Ginn Jr. is capable of returning any kick for a touchdown.

The Winner Is

Green Bay Packers v San Diego Chargers
Winner Packers
3 out of 4

While this game should be relatively even because of the Niners’ edge on defense and special teams, the Packers open the season at home and that should provide an edge. Jim Harbaugh’s edgy personality helped the Niners play at a high level last season, but he could start to rub some of his players the wrong way if they don’t start well.


  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Matt Schaub #8 of the Baltimore Ravens takes practice throws during pregame against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 20, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Johnny Manziel (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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  2. FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 8:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown by LeGarrette Blount #29 in the first half against the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the bench Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 29-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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