Kickoff between the Packers and 49ers in Sunday's NFC Wildcard game is set for 3:40 p.m. Here are three storylines to watch for as the winner will move on to the Divisional Round and travel to face the Carolina Panthers.
The Cold. Yes, it's bitterly cold.
Stormtrack 9 meteorologist Rob Duns expects the temperature to be at around 4 degrees at kickoff, with windchills hovering near 15 degrees below zero. Believe it or not, this forecast is actually better than previously predicted, but not by much. The Packers have been practicing outside on Thursday and Friday and Mike McCarthy says that they've been using the wind to their advantage.
The coldest game that the 49ers have played in was a 34 degree game against the New England Patriots that San Francisco won. The game won't likely rival the temperatures of the Ice Bowl but it will have an affect on the ball. James Jones says the ball gets hard as a rock in the cold and it's something both teams will have to adapt to.
In last year's Divisional playoff game in San Francisco, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. That was in addition to the 263 yards and two scores he found through the air. Then in the 2013 season opener, when the Packers tried to limit the run game, Kaepernick went through the air, passing for 412 yards, which stands as his career high.
If the Packers want to advance, Dom Capers and the GB defense needs to stop Kaepernick.
Return of Rodgers
This will be Aaron Rodgers' first game at Lambeau Field since breaking his collarbone in November. The franchise QB looked like himself last week in the second half when he threw for two touchdowns and a total of 318 yards. He'll have an arsenal of weapons including Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and tight end Andrew Quarless. And when he doesn't feel like throwing, look for Eddie Lacy and James Starks to lead the run game.
It should be an interesting afternoon for Eddie Lacy. The rookie says that he will not wear sleeves in the arctic temperatures.
Stay with Newsline 9 for updates throughout the afternoon as well as after the game.
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