The Green Bay Packers’ road to the Super Bowl now runs through the stadium where they suffered their worst loss of the season.
The Packers (13-3) looked fresh after a first-round bye and swatted the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) out of contention with a 28-23 victory Sunday night in the NFC divisional round at Lambeau Field, but the turnaround will be a little quicker with them now set to take on the San Francisco 49ers (13-3) at 6:40 p.m. ET next Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Without a doubt, the Packers will have some revenge at play on their upcoming trip to California after the 49ers handed them a 37-8 loss on Monday Night Football during Week 12. It was the second loss in three games for the Packers and came just after their bye week, adding to disappointment when they were outplayed in all three phases.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers promised before the playoffs began his team would be ready if they matched up against the 49ers again, and considering how he delivered against the Seahawks — 243 passing yards, two touchdowns — it seems wise to take his word for it. But even a readied Packers team will still be walking into one of their biggest challenges yet against the conference’s top seed.
Here’s a closer look at how the Packers stack up against the 49ers heading into next week’s conference championship along with some background on the two foes and a big-picture glance at the remaining postseason picture.
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Four Teams Left Standing in 2019 Playoffs
For a second straight week, the Tennessee Titans (9-7) were showstoppers after just barely making the postseason as the AFC’s final wild-card team. A first-round victory New England Patriots was an accomplishment in and of itself, but for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry to then help dismantle the conference’s best team was another.
The Titans stunned the Baltimore Ravens (14-2) in another of the AFC’s toughest road environments with their defense causing enough problems for quarterback Lamar Jackson — who is still the MVP favorite — to struggle. Nothing on the field compared to Henry, though, as he rushed 30 times for 195 yards and tossed a leaping touchdown reception to Corey Davis on a trick play.
Now, the task of knocking off the postseason’s hottest team falls the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4), who overcome an early deficit in the divisional round and won 51-31 over the Houston Texans (10-6). The Texans were rolling to start with a 24-0 lead behind three touchdown passes from Deshaun Watson, but Patrick Mahomes came to life in the second quarter to throw a record-tying four touchdown passes and pull the Chiefs ahead before halftime, holding on in the second half.
Whichever side wins next week’s AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium will advance to the Super Bowl against either the Packers or 49ers, who slashed through the sixth-seeded Minnesota Vikings for a 27-10 victory after enjoying a first-round bye.
Closer Look at Packers’ History Against 49ers
During Rodgers’ era as the starter, the Packers have never beaten the 49ers in the playoffs. They lost to Colin Kaepernick in his first career postseason start during the 2012 playoffs at Candlestick Park and then again in the wild-card round the following year.
Neither of those games, though, is recent enough to find particularly telling. Instead, the best look at what this game could have in store comes from the Packers’ disastrous loss to the 49ers earlier in the season. The Packers didn’t lose again after that game, determined to prove themselves better than their worst defeat and snatching up the conference’s No. 2 seed in the process, but the rematch still figures to be one of their toughest challenges yet.
The Packers hold a 32-21-1 advantage in the all-time series and sport of a 4-3 record in postseason matchups, but they have fallen to the 49ers in three of their last four playoff meetings dating back to their 30-27 road loss on Jan. 3, 1999.