TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: San Francisco 49ers At Green Bay Packers

49ers
Packers
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers v San Diego Chargers
Quarterback
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 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.
Offense
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. Vernon Davis is a powerful man who can get open and make big plays downfield.
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 Jermichael Finley. The Packers merely use the running game to take pressure off of Rodgers.
Defense
Winner The 49ers preach hard hitting and tackling better than any other team in the league. Justin Smith is a workhorse and a powerful tackler. Patrick Willis struggled with injuries last season but the 49ers got a lift from speedy NaVorro Bowman.
The Packers can’t match the 49ers for defensive firepower, but they can perform much better than they did last year. Clay Matthews is smart, nasty and fast. B.J. Raji can shut down the running game if he does not get tired.
Special Teams
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 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.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals Green Bay Packers v San Diego Chargers

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.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images Credit: Walt Disney Studios
    Who Would Win: Anaheim Ducks vs. The Mighty Ducks

    Emilio Estevez showed his support for the Ducks last night. That got us thinking, who would win between The Mighty Ducks and the Anaheim Ducks.

  2. Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors. (Ken Regan/NBAE via Getty Images) Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Warrior MVP Seasons: Wilt Chamberlain Vs. Stephen Curry

    The only other Warrior to be named the league’s best player was legendary big man Wilt Chamberlain. who pulled it off 55 years ago when he led the league in scoring.

  3. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    NCAA Championship Tale: #1 Wisconsin Badgers Vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils

    Two No. 1 seeds battle for the national title. Here is a look at the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and Duke Blue Devils.

See All Tales of the Tape