Before we move ahead, let's take a look back. Sure would hate to have the San Francisco 49ers end the season they way they opened it, with a victory over the Green Bay Packers. The 2012 season got off to a rocky start when the Niners rolled into Lambeau on September 9 and rolled over the Pack 30-22. The rematch will look noticeably different because there will be no fewer than 8 starters on both teams that will be different from opening day. The biggest change of course is at quarterback for San Francisco. Colin Kaepernick, the passing and running machine from the University of Nevada took over for Alex Smith in November and has given the 49ers a real spark. As for the Packers, Jeff Saturday and Bryan Bulaga were on the offensive line, Cedric Benson was the starting running back, Nick Perry was at outside linebacker, D.J. Smith was inside and Jarrett Bush was a starting corner. This weekend's starting lineup will be considerably different. As for the game, San Francisco picked up from where they left off in 2011, bringing a physical brand of football to Lambeau. They held Benson to 18 yards on nine carries, Aaron Rodgers was the leading rusher that day with 27. Rodgers was sacked three times and threw a big pick in the second half. Frank Gore piled up 112 yards on just 16 carries, including a backbreaking 23 yard touchdown run on the first snap after Aaron's interception. Smith played one of his best games, completing 20 of 26 for 211 yards and a pair of scores, putting up a passer rating of 125.6. The 49ers struck first on a David Akers 40 yard field goal in the first quarter. The Pack couldn't move past San Francisco's 45 yard line on their first two posessions. A pair of defensive penalties helped the Niners drive 92 yards in 9 plays to take a 10-0 lead on a 14 yard touchdown catch from Randy Moss. Green Bay responded with a 10 play, 80 yard march, 28 yard throws to Jordy Nelson and James Jones, set up Jermichael Finley's one yard TD catch with 4:40 to play in the first half. Another big penalty on third down, this time a holding call against Charles Woodson, allowed San Francisco to get into position for a 43 yard Akers field goal and a 13-7 lead with only a minute left in the second quarter. The Pack went three and out and the 49ers brought out Kaepernick to run one option play, his only snap of the game that day. He picked up 17 yards to the Packer 45 and after a pair of incompletions from Smith, Akers lined up a 63 yard try. The kick bounced off the crossbar and through for an NFL record tying field goal and a deflating 16-7 deficit at the half. San Francisco's first series of the third quarter swelled the lead to 23-7 when Vernon Davis hauled in a 4 yard touchdown. Green Bay got a spark in the 4th quarter when Randall Cobb took an Andy Lee punt 75 yards for a touchdown. Rodgers found Nelson for a two point try making it a one score game at 23-15 with plenty of time remaining. The defense got a stop but then Rodgers made the mistake when linebacker Navarro Bowman stepped in front of Greg Jennings for the interception, returning it 11 yards to the 23. From there, Gore got around right end, broke a couple of tackles and made it 30-15. Rodgers hit Jones for 49 yards and two plays later, Jones caught a 10 yard TD with just over 6 minutes left. Clay Matthews sacked Smith on the next series to force a punt and the Pack moved from their 16 to the 49er 45 when Rodgers was sacked on second down and a 4th and 10 pass to Nelson downfield fell incomplete. Smith took a pair of knees and opening day was spoiled. The game was touted as a matchup of NFC contenders and at least the pundits were right about that. The teams meet again this Saturday night at Candlestick Park with the winner heading to the conference championship game. History may be on the Packers side. They are 4-1 all time in the playoffs against the 49ers and I covered all five. The first was a breakthrough victory for Mike Holmgren's up and coming Packers in 1995. They outmuscled the Niners 27-17 at the Stick to reach the NFC title game, only to be eliminated for a third straight year by the Cowboys. The next year, the 49ers came to Lambeau for the Divisional Round and in the mud, Desmond Howard returned the first punt of the game for a touchdown in Green Bay's 35-14 rout, step one on the road to the Super Bowl XXXI title. The following year, the defense smothered Steve Young and the Niners, sacking hiim 4 times in the 4th quarter alone in a 23-10 NFC title game victory. A 4th straight playoff matchup proved to be Holmgren's last game as head coach as Young hit Terrell Owens with a miracle touchdown with three seconds to play in a 30-27 wild card heartbreaker after the 1998 season. The most recent post-season meeting was in 2001, Mike Sherman's first playoff win as head coach, a 25-15 victory at Lambeau. Can't wait for the next chapter this weekend.