The Green Bay Packers travel west to take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this Sunday.
It will be a matchup of the team with the second-best playoff winning percentage (Green Bay, 35-22, .614) and the team with the third-best winning percentage (San Francisco, 31-20, .608) in NFL history.
This is only the second time the two teams have faced each other in the NFC Championship, with the Packers winning, 23-10, at the 49ers in the 1997 season.
The Packers and 49ers have met seven times in the postsesaon (all since the 1995 season) and Green Bay holds a 4-3 advantage in the playoff series. This eighth meeting will tie for the most playoff games the Packers have played against one team (Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants).
The eight posteseason contests between Green Bay and San Francisco will tie for the second most in NFL history behind the Cowboys-Rams (nine), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The last postseason meeting between the two clubs was in the 2013 season, a 23-20 win by San Francisco in Green Bay.
This will be the first postseason game between the two at San Francisco since 2012. The Packers are 2-2 in playoff games at the 49ers.
Two of the last four postseason meetings between Green Bay and San Francisco have been decided by three points.
This will be just the second time the Packers have been a part of a postseason game featuring two teams that both won 13-plus regular-season games. The other instance was at the 49ers in the 1997 NFC Championship when both teams posted 13-3 regular-season records like this season.
BACK IN THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday will be the eighth time Green Bay has played in the NFC title contest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
This will be Green Bay’s third NFC Championship appearance since 2014 (2014, 2016), the most in the NFC over that span. No other NFC team has advanced to the conference title game more than once since 2014.
The team’s first appearance in the NFC Championship came in 1995, when it traveled to Dallas. Green Bay held a fourth-quarter lead, but the Cowboys used two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from Emmitt Smith to end Green Bay’s season for the third straight year.
The Packers reached the NFC title game again the following year, hosting the first title game at Lambeau Field since the ‘Ice Bowl.’ The Packers overcame two early deficits to defeat the Panthers, 30-13, for their first Super Bowl appearance in 29 years. They would go on to beat New England in the Super Bowl.
In ’97, the Packers reached the title game for the third consecutive season, this time traveling to San Francisco. Green Bay built a comfortable 13-3 lead on a rain-soaked afternoon in an eventual 23-10 win as it bounced the 49ers from the playoffs for the third straight year.
In ’07, the Packers hosted the Giants in the third-coldest contest in championship game history with a game-time temperature of minus-1 and wind chill of minus-23. Lawrence Tynes sent New York to the Super Bowl with a 47-yard field goal in overtime for the Giants’ 23-20 victory.
In the ’10 NFC Championship, Green Bay beat longtime division rival Chicago, 21-14. In a game that included five interceptions, Packers DT B.J. Raji helped seal the victory with an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown that put Green Bay up, 21-7, with just over six minutes remaining. The Packers went on to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers for the club’s fourth Super Bowl and 13th NFL championship.
The Packers played at Seattle in the 2014 NFC Championship. After Green Bay took a 16-0 lead into halftime, the Seahawks outscored the Packers, 22-6, in the second half to force OT, and won on the first possession of extra time, 28-22.
Green Bay's last NFC Championship appearance came in 2016 at Atlanta, where the Packers fell to the Falcons, 44-21.
WITH THE CALL
FOX Sports, now in its 26th season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game.
Play-by-play man Joe Buck joins analyst Troy Aikman with Erin Andrews and Chris Myers reporting from the sidelines.
Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in four states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play), two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (analyst) and three-time Packers Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro John Kuhn (sideline) will call the action. McCarren first joined the team’s broadcasts in 1995 and enters his 25th season calling Packers games. After originally being paired together in 1999, McCarren and Larrivee enter their 21st season of broadcasts together. They surpassed Jim Irwin and Max McGee for the most regular-season and postseason games broadcast for the Packers with 313 at the 2018 season opener against Chicago.
The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed).
Westwood One will air the game across the country. Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Kurt Warner (analyst) will call the action with Ross Tucker (sideline) while Scott Graham will host pregame and halftime shows.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. 49ers:
Regular season, all-time: 32-28-1
All-time postseason: 4-3
All-time, at San Francisco: 12-19-1 (includes 2-2 in postseason)
Streaks: The Packers have won seven of the last 11 games played at San Francisco (including playoffs).
Last meeting, postseason: Jan. 5, 2014, Lambeau Field, San Francisco won, 23-20.
Matt LaFleur: 14-3, .824; 1st NFL season
Kyle Shanahan: 24-25, .490, 3rd NFL season
Head to Head: Shanahan 1-0
vs. Opponent: LaFleur 0-1 vs. 49ers; Shanahan 1-1 vs. Packers
MATT LAFLEUR…In his first season as the Packers’ 15th head coach.
In his 11th season in the NFL, having served as an offensive coordinator for two seasons (Los Angeles Rams, 2017; Tennessee Titans, 2018), a quarterbacks coach for six seasons (Washington Redskins, 2010-13; Atlanta Falcons, 2015-16), and an offensive assistant for two seasons (Houston Texans, 2008-09).
Became the first head coach in team history to lead the Packers to a division title in his first season.
Guided the Titans’ offense in 2018 to a No. 7 league ranking in rushing (126.4 ypg) as Tennessee registered 11 games with 100-plus rushing yards, tied for No. 2 in the NFL.
Helped the Rams lead the league in scoring with an average of 29.9 points per game in 2017, more than doubling their average from 2016 (14.0 ppg).
Tutored QB Matt Ryan, who led the league in passer rating (117.1) in 2016 on his way to being named NFL Most Valuable Player by The Associated Press.
ed rookie QB Robert Griffin III with the Redskins in 2012, who became the first QB in team history to win AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
KYLE SHANAHAN…In his third year as the 49ers’ 20th head coach.
Despite losing QB Jimmy Garoppolo early in 2018 to a season-ending injury, TE George Kittle set an NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end (1,377) and earned a Pro Bowl selection.
In his first season as head coach in 2017, led the team to a 6-10 record, a four-game improvement from the previous year for the 49ers.
Possesses 16 seasons of coaching experience at the NFL level, including nine as an offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16), Cleveland Browns (2014), Washington Redskins (2010-13) and Houston Texans (2008-09).
In 2016, helped the Falcons reach Super Bowl LI and guided the Atlanta offense to franchise records in yards per game (415.8), points scored (540), net passing yards per game (295.3) and yards per play (6.7).
Was named Assistant of the Year in 2016 by both The Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers of America.
THE PACKERS-49ERS SERIES
Originally dating back to 1950, the series featured two games per season from 1953-66 with the teams trading dominant stretches.
San Francisco won 13 times in a span of 15 games between 1950-58, while the Packers won 10 of 11 games between 1959-64.
In more recent times, the series has been noted for its postseason clashes, including several defining moments in Packers history. Green Bay’s 27-17 triumph in the 1995 NFC Divisional playoff was considered the breakthrough victory that established the Packers as an elite team for the next several years. The Packers also won the next two postseason meetings, a 35-14 home victory in the 1996 NFC Divisional playoff en route to the Super Bowl XXXI title, and a 23-10 win at San Francisco in the 1997 NFC Championship game.
The two teams met in the playoffs for a fourth straight season in 1998, with the 49ers winning, 30-27, on QB Steve Young’s last-second TD pass to WR Terrell Owens.
The clubs faced off in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons (2012-13), with San Francisco coming away with wins in both.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and his brother, 49ers passing game coordinator Mike, worked together in Atlanta for two seasons (2015-16)…Matt LaFleur has also worked with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta (2015-16), Washington (2010-13) and Houston (2008-09)…Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, was the head coach of the Redskins when LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach…Packers offensive line coach Adam Stenavich spent two seasons as the 49ers’ assistant offensive line coach…Packers WR Jake Kumerow is the cousin of 49ers DL Nick Bosa…49ers offensive assistant Bobby Slowik is a native of Green Bay...Green Bay players with connections to California include: WR Davante Adams (Palo Alto, Fresno State), T David Bakhtiari (San Mateo), DL Kenny Clark (Rialto, UCLA), RB Tyler Ervin (Colton, San Jose State), CB Kevin King (Oakland), TE Marcedes Lewis (Long Beach, UCLA), LB Blake Martinez (Stanford), QB Aaron Rodgers (Chico, University of California) and RB Jamaal Williams (Fontana)…California natives on the Packers’ coaching staff include: offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett (Fullerton), defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery (Los Angeles) and defensive backs coach Jason Simmons (Inglewood)…Mike LaFleur was an offensive intern in Cleveland in 2014 when Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was the head coach…LaFleur has worked with a number of 49ers assistant coaches, including special teams coordinator Richard Hightower (Houston, 2008; Washington 2010-13), run game coordinator Mike McDaniel (Houston, 2008; Washington, 2011-13; Atlanta, 2015-16), defensive coordinator Robert Saleh (Central Michigan, 2004; Houston, 2008-09), assistant head coach/tight ends Jon Embree (Washington, 2010), offensive line coach John Benton (Houston, 2008-09), run game specialist/outside linebackers coach Johnny Holland (Houston, 2008-09), Slowik (Washington, 2011-13), offensive assistant Katie Sowers (Atlanta, 2016) and running backs coach Robert Turner Jr. (Washington, 2010-13; Atlanta, 2015-16)…Pettine, Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga and defensive backs coach Ryan Downard worked with Hightower (2014), McDaniel (2014) and 49ers defensive quality control Brian Fleury (2014-15) in Cleveland…Holland played linebacker for the Packers for seven seasons (1987-93)...Matt LaFleur was on the Houston coaching staff when 49ers inside linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans played linebacker for the Texans…Matt LaFleur was a graduate assistant at Central Michigan when 49ers T Joe Staley was on the team...Hackett coached alongside Saleh, Benton and 49ers safeties coach Daniel Bullocks in Jacksonville in 2016…Packers tight ends coach Justin Outten was on the Atlanta coaching staff with Matt and Mike LaFleur, McDaniel and Turner Jr. …Packers inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti was on the Washington staff with Matt and Mike LaFleur, Shanahan, Hightower, Embree and Turner Jr. …Embree was the head coach at Colorado in 2011-12 when Bakhtiari played for the Buffaloes...Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith was 49ers DL Dee Ford’s position coach in Kansas City in 2018. Additionally, Smith and 49ers wide receivers coach Wes Welker were teammates at Texas Tech...Packers assistant chief of staff Joe McKillip worked with 49ers administrative assistant to the head coach Nick Kray on the N.C. State football operations staff (2015-16)…49ers RB Tevin Coleman, OL Mike Person and TE Levine Toilolo played in Atlanta when Matt LaFleur and Outten were on the coaching staff (2015-16)…Packers S Adrian Amos and 49ers K Robbie Gould played together in Chicago in 2015…Packers G/T Billy Turner and 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders played together in Denver for three seasons (2016-18)…Packers LB Za’Darius Smith and 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk played together in Baltimore for two seasons (2015-16)…LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame when 49ers OL Mike McGlinchey was a freshman for the Fighting Irish…Packers TE Jimmy Graham and 49ers CB Richard Sherman played together in Seattle for three seasons (2015-17)…49ers CB K’Waun Williams signed as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland when Pettine was the head coach…Former college teammates include: Packers DL Montravius Adams and Ford (Auburn); Packers RB Jamaal Williams and 49ers LB Fred Warner (BYU); Packers G Lucas Patrick and 49ers OL Laken Tomlinson (Duke); Packers CB Josh Jackson, 49ers QB C.J.Beathard and TE George Kittle (Iowa); Packers RB Dexter Williams, 49ers DL Sheldon Day and McGlinchey (Notre Dame); Martinez and 49ers DL Soloman Thomas (Stanford); King and 49ers WR Dante Pettis (Washington).
LAST MEETING, POSTSEASON
Jan. 5, 2014, Lambeau Field, San Francisco won, 23-20.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completed 17 of 26 attempts for 177 yards and a TD.
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick threw for 227 yards and a TD, as well as an INT. Kaepernick also led all rushers with 98 yards on the ground.
Packers CB Tramon Williams intercepted Kaepernick’s pass in the second quarter, which led to a 5-yard TD reception by WR Jordy Nelson.
Packers K Mason Crosby ended the game with 77 career postseason points, which surpassed Chris Jacke (73 points) for the most points scored in franchise playoff history.