GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 51-45 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
8 a.m. ET: Aaron Rodgers is coming home for the first time in his NFL career, but his hometown team will be looking to make this visit one he’d like to forget.
Rodgers didn’t have his greatest showing against the Vikings on wild card weekend, but the Packers still managed a 24-10 win against a solid defense. Now he’ll have to counter one of the league’s best defenses in San Francisco.
The 49ers limited Rodgers’ production earlier this season in a 30-22 win, and with Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rodgers roaming the defensive backfield, they’ll try for a similar outcome this time around.
Colin Kaepernick is playing in his first career playoff game, and the second-year quarterback might have some difficulty against Clay Matthews and the Packers’ pass rush. Kaepernick’s speed and elusiveness made him more effective as the season wore on, but with guys like Matthews coming off the edge and Charles Woodson prowling in the secondary, Kaepernick might not have quite as big an impact.
A big part of the outcome will revolve around the effectiveness of both running games. Frank Gore has been consistent on the ground all season, while DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant are hoping to combine to give Green Bay just as dangerous an attack. Establishing a presence on the ground will be key for both teams, but it may be even more important for Rodgers, as he needs time to throw from the pocket.
Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m., and it will certainly be one to keep an eye on. Keep it locked here for all your news, notes and analysis throughout the day and the game.
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