Opponent: vs. Green Bay
Time: 1:25 p.m.
Line: Packers by 9
Records: 49ers 1-2, Packers 3-0
TV/Radio: Ch. 40 (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman), 810, 1320
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Kap-tain comeback? Everyone is leaping from the Colin Kaepernick bandwagon as if it’s ablaze. His terrible performance in Arizona seemed to erase all memory of his solid start this season. But Kaepernick is 3-0 against the Packers since becoming a starter, including a win at frigid Lambeau Field in the 2012 playoffs. If he somehow goes to 4-0 against a team many see as favorites for the Super Bowl, it will be the mother of all bounce-backs and the Kaepernick bandwagon won’t be as empty.
Read-option redux: Will the 49ers turn to the read-option attack that has been so effective against Green Bay? The Packers are very interested in that answer, too. If so, it would put Kaepernick squarely in his comfort zone and take the Packers’ defense out of theirs. Then again, if Green Bay overcompensates, it risks getting burned as it was in the 2013 season opener when Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards.
A Bush bounce: No one has seen much of running back Reggie Bush in either the preseason or regular season. But the glimpse in Week 1 suggested he would have a sizeable role in the 49ers’ attack. That ought to add some zip and creativity to an offense that has been predictable in the last two games. Bush also gives Kaepernick a pass-catching outlet if his initial reads aren’t available, which was a problem in Arizona.
The blitz blues: Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is known for his exotic blitzes. But they have been thwarted the last two weeks by veteran quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer, who either have exploited mismatches caused by the blitz or have aggressively thrown the ball down field when the 49ers bring an extra rusher. Aaron Rodgers also won’t be surprised by a new blitz. The 49ers may be wiser dropping into coverage – which has worked in recent outings against the Packers – and allowing their front four to pass-rush.
Hayne plane grounded: The 49ers say they’d rather not use Jarryd Hayne on kick returns. And it’s clear they’re more content with Mike Davis as a backup at running back. Which means Hayne could be restricted to punt returns for the second game in a row. He had only one real chance to return a punt in Arizona, and his 37-yard return set up the 49ers’ only touchdown. With both the offense and defense struggling, it would seem smart to give that type of playmaker more opportunities.
Doubtful: TE Vernon Davis (knee).
Probable: CB Kenneth Acker (back), G Alex Boone (shoulder), LB Navorro Bowman (not injury related), LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), RB Reggie Bush (calf), WR Bruce Ellington (ankle), S L.J. McCray (hip), TE Vance McDonald (knee), S Eric Reid (hip)
Out: T Bryan Bulaga (knee)
Doubtful: CB Demetri Goodson (hamstring), LB Jake Ryan (hamstring)
Questionable: WR Davante Adams (ankle), S Morgan Burnett (calf)
Probable: WR Randall Cobb (shoulder), DE Datone Jones (head), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), LB Mike Neal (groin), S Sean Richardson (ankle), RB Aaron Ripkowski (shoulder)
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