San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers, 8:15 p.m. (Fox).
In the Packers’ last seven games, Aaron Rodgers has completed 72 percent of his passes and thrown 20 touchdowns without an interception. He is, at 38, still at the pinnacle of his craft, and likely to win his second straight — and fourth overall — Most Valuable Player Award.
For all of his individual brilliance, Rodgers has played in only one Super Bowl, 11 years ago, and since he can determine where he plays next season, this might be his last opportunity at making it to another one with Green Bay.
The Packers have surrounded Rodgers with his best team since Matt LaFleur took over before the 2019 season, bolstering the defense with cornerbacks Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes and All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. On offense, receiver Davante Adams, who recorded single-season highs in receptions (123) and yardage (1,553), is a mismatch regardless of which cornerbacks — and how many — are defending him.
Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon lead a solid rushing attack that could be running behind an offensive line regaining left tackle David Bakhtiari, right tackle Billy Turner and center Josh Myers. The Packers will benefit from the potential returns of all their injured players — including cornerback Jaire Alexander and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith — to counter the hottest team left in the playoffs.
To make the postseason, San Francisco won seven of its final nine games, including a Week 18 overtime victory at the Los Angeles Rams, when Garoppolo engineered a comeback from a 17-point first-half deficit.
Garoppolo has been to a Super Bowl far more recently than Rodgers — just two years ago — but the 49ers, like Green Bay, have drafted his presumptive replacement. Garoppolo has staved off the ascension of Trey Lance by throwing short, quickly and on time to yards-after-catch monsters Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and handing off, again and again, to Elijah Mitchell and Samuel. San Francisco pummeled Dallas last week for 169 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The 49ers’ diverse, powerful running game is capable of devastating Green Bay’s vulnerable run defense, and their front seven, with speedy linebackers and a strong pass rush, can minimize a modest secondary. The availability of stars Nick Bosa (concussion) and Fred Warner (ankle) will help determine whether San Francisco can reprise the pass rush that generated a 45.8 percent pressure rate — the team’s season high, according to N.F.L.’s Next Gen Stats — last week against Dallas.