Packers-49ers matchups: Part II

The 49ers play the Green Bay Packers in four days. In the meantime, I’ll break down two key matchups a day.

WR Randy Moss: 6-4, 210 pounds, 35 years old, 4.40 40-yard dash

vs.

CB Tramon Williams: 5-11, 191 pounds, 29 years old, 4.59 40-yard dash

Although Williams ran a slow 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in 2006, he plays extremely fast. He’s also an explosive jumper – 37.5 inch vertical leap. He was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL two seasons ago, but he hurt his shoulder in 2011 and did not play well. Now he’s healthy, and he’s reportedly back to his 2010 form. Longtime Packers’ beat writer Bob McGinn recently ranked Williams the fifth-best player on the team. Randy Moss is not the fifth-best player on the Niners – he probably wouldn’t crack the top-20 right now. He hasn’t had a good season since 2009, and although he worked hard in training camp, he did not stand out like Williams apparently did. What’s more, Moss has not developed game-speed chemistry with his quarterback, Alex Smith, so it’s hard to imagine Moss winning this matchup in his first game as a 49er.

Advantage: Packers

LB Patrick Willis: 6-1, 240 pounds, 27 years old, 4.37 40-yard dash

vs.

TE Jermichael Finley: 6-5, 247 pounds, 25 years old, 4.66 40-yard dash

Patrick Willis is the best linebacker in the NFL, but he struggled covering tall receivers like Finley last season. Jason Witten, Jermaine Gresham, Brandon Pettigrew and Jimmy Graham all got the best of Willis when they faced him. Aaron Rodgers can and will throw the ball up high where Finley can reach it and Willis cannot. The question is can Finley catch it? He dropped 13 passes last season. McGinn said he dropped fewer passes in this year’s training camp than he did in last year’s, and McGinn ranked him the seventh-best player on the Packers, one spot ahead of two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings.

Advantage: Packers

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