WHEN: Sunday, 3:05 (CST)
WHERE: Monster Park, San Francisco, CA
TV: FOX, Matt Vasgersian, JC Pearson, Tim Ryan, Laura Okmin
SERIES: 59th meeting. The Packers lead the series 31-26-1, which includes a 4-1 record against the 49ers in the playoffs. Green Bay has won the last five meetings, dating to 1999, and 10 of the last 11 encounters, dating to 1995.
Thanks in part to five meetings in the postseason, the interdivisional teams met annually from 1995 to 2003. This is their first meeting since a 20-10 Packers win on Nov. 23, 2003, at Green Bay.
2006 RANKINGS: Packers: offense 12th (20th rush, 9th pass); defense 29th (17th rush, 30th pass). 49ers: offense 26th (9th rush, 27th pass); defense 22nd (21st rush, 22nd pass)
PREDICTION: 49ers 23-21
KEYS TO THE GAME: For the 49ers' offense to take the next step, QB Alex Smith is going to have to capitalize on the eight- and nine-man fronts defenses are throwing at San Francisco in an effort to contain RB Frank Gore. Smith is struggling to hurt teams vertically, but the Packers' porous secondary presents an excellent opportunity to build some confidence pushing the ball downfield.
Then again, Green Bay has been done in by poor run defense and tackling the past two games, so Gore might have success no matter how many men the Packers throw at him. Green Bay's offense needs to lend a hand by sustaining more drives. The Packers haven't moved the ball consistently, converting just 11 of 40 third-down situations during their three-game losing streak. But something has to give with the 49ers allowing opponents to convert 46.5 percent of the time on third down.
Packers: QB Brett Favre has gone three consecutive starts with a passer rating below 60.0. ... RB Ahman Green has 7,893 rushing yards in seven years with the team, 314 yards shy of Jim Taylor's franchise record.
49ers: Gore leads the NFL with 12 carries of at least 20 yards. ... Are 3-0 this season when Smith has a passer rating of at least 100.