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The Jeff Falconio Blog

Packers-49ers: Three keys

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The Smiths The playmaking outside linebacker Aldon Smith registered 19.5 sacks in 2012 but his production dropped when defensive end Justin Smith was lost with a tricep injury.  The defensive end is set to return tonight and that will not only give a boost to thr 49ers run defense but should open things up for the linebacker who must be accounted for on every play.

Keeping Kaepernick Contained Colin Kaepernick has the same athleticism and mobility as Joe Webb but with a better arm.  Since taking over as starting quarterback Kaepernick has rushed for 238 yards in seven starts.  The Packers would be wise to keep Kaepernick in the pocket and force him to win the game by throwing it.

Special Teams Field position will go a long way in determining the winner so not only are the return and coverage units important but the kicking game for both teams will be in focus.  Mason Crosby and David Akers have had their struggles throughout the year and just one field goal miss could be the difference between winning and losing.

Prediction Packers 20, 49ers 17

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