The San Francisco 49ers are primetime television in Week 3 for "Sunday Night Football." As the Faithful fill the stands, Levi's® Stadium will be at full capacity for the first time since January 2020.
That game, 20 months ago, Levi's® Stadium hosted the NFC Championship with a victory over the Green Bay Packers. Now a season removed from that victory, the Packers are back in Santa Clara to take on the 2-0 49ers and a hyped-up Faithful crowd for the team's 2021 home opener.
"It's going to be a primetime game, their home opener. They're 2-0, so I'd imagine the crowd is going to be into it big time and it's going to be a factor," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said. "Two years ago, it was tough to operate from an offensive standpoint because it was a pretty chaotic environment, so I anticipate that being much the same."
For the fourth game in a row, the Packers will be on the road to battle the 49ers. The team's record under Kyle Shanahan stands 2-2 against the Packers with San Francisco recording two decisive victories in the 2019 season (Week 12 and NFC Championship game). During those four contests, the 49ers averaged 33 points per game, while the Packers averaged just under 25. Against his hometown team, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 1,160 yards with nine touchdowns, two interceptions, four fumbles and has been sacked 12 times in the last four matchups.
"Real tough game. They're a real good team," said Shanahan. "They've been one game away, two years in a row. I know their goal is as high as anyone's in this league, just like ours. They've got a lot of players who've been around for a while, a lot of good players, a great coaching staff. And that'll be a huge challenge."
The 49ers most recent outing against the Packers resulted in a 34-17 loss in Week 9 of the 2020 season. However, Green Bay faced off against a diminished 49ers team that didn't include starting weapons such as Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel.
The return of key playmakers back into the lineup has already been felt on the field. The Garoppolo to Samuel connection has gotten off to a strong start to open the 2021 campaign with the wideout already registering a league-leading 282 receiving yards through the first two weeks of the season. The Packers will have to be ready to face this offensive threat that wasn't up for battle in their last matchup, including the unmapped wrinkle of Trey Lance.
"It's always a fun challenge when you go against one of the best quarterbacks to play and one of the best traditions," Shanahan said. "I know that Packers and 49ers go back a longways. So, I think it's really cool for the league and for our fans and their fans, when both teams are playing at high level."