The 49ers have had good luck against the Green Bay Packers in recent years, and in fact have won the last four games against Aaron Rodgers & Co., including a 23-20 victory in January of 2014 in an NFC wild-card game.
But as the 1-2 49ers get set to host the 3-0 Packers Sunday afternoon (1:25 p.m. kickoff) at Levi’s Stadium, nobody is picking the Niners to come out on top.
Jim Tomsula’s team has been blown out the past two weeks and oddsmakers have made the Pack a whopping 9- to 9½-point favorite.
Right now, with San Francisco’s pass defense providing not much defense at all and quarterback Colin Kaepernick looking totally out of sync, it appears to be one of the week’s biggest NFL mismatches.
The 49ers have been outscored the past two weeks, in losses to Pittsburgh and Arizona, 90-25.
The 49ers defense is ranked 25th overall and 27th against the pass and will be matched against the league’s No. 9 offense and Rodgers, who has a 103.7 passer rating in six starts against San Francisco, including the playoffs.
The 49ers have been working all week to try to patch holes and clean up pass coverages, but Rodgers will be difficult to stop. He moves well in the pocket, buys extra time and is extremely accurate with his throws, even against heavy pressure.
“He’s very efficient,” 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini told the media this week. “It’s one of those things, because even when you disrupt Aaron Rodgers, the plays he can make outside the pocket are different than some other guys.”
The 49ers collapse was a surprise after a season-opening victory over the Minnesota Vikings in which Kaepernick and the offense were efficient, and the defense was aggressive and effective, coming up with five sacks and locking down on opposing receivers.
Mangini this week said he’s been studying tapes of what the 49ers have done defensively in recent meetings with the Packers, in order to pick up ideas about what to do Sunday. He’s also been getting input from Tomsula, the former defensive line coach.
“You look at it from a scheme perspective and then you look at it from a personnel perspective and see where you can do the same things that were done before and where maybe it’s not going to work out quite the same way just because it’s different matchups,” Mangini said. “But you definitely try to draw on that.”
After losing in a big way to the Steelers two weeks ago, the 49ers said they had a lot of work to do – then were crushed in Arizona. This week, they’ve been saying the same things. Is there any reason to believe the 49ers will be a different – and much better – team against the Packers Sunday?
Certainly the NFL oddsmakers don’t think so.