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Mark Gray was born in England, grew up in Northern California and now lives in Seattle. He is one of the hardcore 49ers fans that I put up with on a daily basis. We exchange emails any time the Packers and 49ers play in a big game. Here is our exchange 3 days ahead of the divisional playoff matchup in San Francisco. Our earlier exchanges can be found here, here and here.

1/10/2013
3:00 PM

Mark,

You want me to bring it? Here –

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The best case scenario for the Packers is that Aaron Rodgers turns into Aaron Rodgers from this playoff game two years ago. It’s the sort of game only two-three quarterbacks in the league are capable of having. Rodgers himself talks about that game as one where he was in a very unique zone he has never been in otherwise. I remember watching that game and thinking that there is no way any team could keep with the Packers that night. The point you guys made about elite QBs will hold true. No amount of rest or home field advantage can keep up with Mr. Discount Double check if that stays. This is every Packer fan’s wet dream and basically the reason why anyone who has doubt about their pick goes with the Packers. They assume that this Rodgers is capable of showing up. I also think it is possible that this will happen which is why I put down some good money yesterday for Stubhub tickets to the game:). But I don’t think it is probable or likely which makes me cautiously optimistic.

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But yeah if Rodgers shows up as the best he can be, I wish you a long night of wailing and weeping into your Alex Smith jersey as your massive Kaep-erection shrinks and shrivels down to the size of an Akers-ection (see what I did there?).

So yeah in spite of my gut feel that your team will win Saturday, I have gone ahead and bought tickets to the game. This may not be a very wise investment. Candlestick park at 8:30 PM on a Saturday night will be a very scary place for a brown-skinned cheesehead/Rodgers jersey wearing male. If I clear the post game crowds on the concourses and aisles, I will still have to drive my Packers license plate bearing car to the safety of Hwy 580/280 :). Wish me luck on making it thru the night safely. Apart from all that is how poor my return on sporting Investment has been for me recently. I was in the process of losing my hearing in Seattle where the refs robbed my team of a win and I was in Mumbai for the worst home loss of the year for Indian cricket. Recent history almost makes me dread an ugly 24-3 49ers win making me impose a five-year ban on myself from live events.

But I also worry that this maybe the one time I get to see Aaron Rodgers in a playoff game. Who knows when next he will get to play a playoff game in California and in the off-chance that he turns into Superman I will curse myself for the rest of my life on having botched the one chance to watch him live. So I am going to the game. Stay tuned for many pictures from the game and 12 tweets or taunts per Packer touchdown …….

Worst of luck and Go Pack, Go
Shyam

P.S: The best preview I have seen of the game is here. The preview points out how important takeaways for the Packers and does the hard work of crunching the numbers related to that. Here’s hoping Colin Kaepernick obliges.

1/10/2013
6:45 PM

Now this is more like the Shyam I expected, only I’m getting to the point of overload talking about this. Bring on Saturday already.

The only flaw in your “Rodgers? More like GODgers!” rant is that the game you referenced was against the Falcons. The same Falcons who, though they are supposed to be better now, really are considered one of the worst #1 seeds… possibly ever. The same “better” Falcons that most people agree have no chance against the visiting Seahawks on Sunday… mostly because of games like this.

Unfortunately, red and black (and white?) is not the same and red and gold; as long as Justin Smith’s arm stays on (firmly attached to an offensive lineman), the 49ers defense is pretty close to elite. Not quite lucky like last year, but they match up well with any team because they’re so good at stuffing the run without extra help, which in turn allows them to play strong coverage and make life difficult for opposing QBs. (Think first half @ Patriots, before the prevent defense kicked in to make Brady look more like… Brady.) In fact, if the game plan versus the Discount Double-Checks is greatly different than the (first-half) game plan against the Bradys, I would be surprised.

Now that I’ve finally coaxed you into showing some confidence, I’ll just remind you that the 49ers will have extra rest and preparation, and when Harbs has that extra time, he usually comes out on top – even when the haters (Shyam) are hatin’ (see: Saints @ Niners, 2012 playoffs). Plus, I don’t really think this “Alex was careful with the football and Kaep was not” nonsense. Statistically, the difference between the two was very slight, and we’re talking about a second-year player who had never started a football game before. (Get your Kaeperection ready.) Sure, the game will be close, but I like the Niners’ chances quite a bit. There are just too many things going in their favor, and the general malaise during the season will give way to some post-season intensity. [See that, I turned what I termed a negative (the lack of more than a 2-game winning streak) into a positive.] Let’s face it, when the Niners got themselves up for a game, they were pretty unbeatable. Just think about the Chicago game, when everyone was talking about how great the Bears were. Then they got a Kaep in their collective ass.

Let’s remember: Harbs is one intense mo-fo. After the lockout lifted (remember that?), he had this team at maximum effort all last season, through the playoffs. They lost a close and easily winnable NFC championship game. This year, it seems that the team is a little less affected by Harbs’ intensity – it’s just plain hard to maintain that over the most part of two years – but I think they’re in prime position and they’ve got enough left to make a good run for the SB. Yes, I liked last year’s team better for that intensity, but I believe this team will be ready.

Sorry, the Packers won’t be going home happy.

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