Week 1: San Francisco 49ers At Green Bay Packers

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


  1. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

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  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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