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Preview: Green Bay at San Francisco
When: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, October 4, 2015
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
After seeing their defense ripped to shreds in each of the last two games, the San Francisco 49ers face the unenviable task of attempting to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Rodgers was in rare form on Monday, throwing three of his five touchdown passes to Randall Cobb in Green Bay’s 38-28 victory over Kansas City to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Rodgers has completed 73.6 percent of his throws through three games, significantly better than his career-best mark of 68.3 in 2011 and Drew Brees’ NFL record of 70.62 in 2009. The two-time NFL MVP has thrown a league-high 10 touchdowns and has yet to toss an interception – with the latter being an all-too-frequent occurrence for Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco quarterback was picked off four times last week – the first two were returned for touchdowns – in a 47-7 shellacking by Arizona. For all of his troubles, Kaepernick owns a 3-0 career with two postseason victories over Green Bay.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -8.5. O/U: 48.5
ABOUT THE PACKERS (3-0): James Jones hasn’t missed a beat since returning to Green Bay, tying Cobb for the team lead with four touchdown receptions – one shy of Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald for the league lead. Fellow wideout Davante Adams (sprained ankle) lasted just three plays versus the Chiefs and hasn’t practiced this week, but disputed reports that he is nursing a high-ankle sprain. A sprained right ankle didn’t slow Eddie Lacy, who rushed for 46 yards on 10 carries last week and caught all three passes despite sharing a bit more time than usual with backup James Starks.
ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-2): With Kaepernick struggling, San Francisco needs to receive a jolt from its ground game in order to ignite an offense that is averaging a league-low 15 points per contest. Carlos Hyde set the NFL on its ear with a 168-yard, two-touchdown performance in the season opener, but has been limited to just 94 yards on 28 carries in a pair of blowout losses to Pittsburgh and Arizona. The 24-year-old is nursing a minor leg injury, while fellow running back Reggie Bush returned to practice for the first time since straining his left calf in the season opener.
1. San Francisco’s minus-4 turnover differential is the third-worst in the league, trailing only Indianapolis (minus-7) and Washington (minus-5).
2. Green Bay LB Julius Peppers, 35, has recorded 2.5 sacks over the last two weeks.
3. The 49ers have permitted 15 pass plays of 20 or more yards, which is tied with Oakland for the most in the NFL.
PREDICTION: Packers 45, 49ers 14