The 49ers play the Green Bay Packers in three days. In the meantime, I’ll break down a few key matchups a day.
CB Tarell Brown: 5-foot-10, 193 pounds, 27 years old, 4.42 40-yard dash
WR Jordy Nelson: 6-3, 217 pounds, 27 years old, 4.45 40-yard dash
The Packers love to match up Nelson against the smallest cornerback in the secondary. The 49ers’ smallest corner is Tarell Brown. Nelson is four inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than him. Brown is going to need help from Dashon Goldson, especially in the red zone, where Nelson is Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target.
CB Chris Culliver: 6-0, 199 pounds, 24 years old, 4.36 40-yard dash
WR James Jones: 6-1, 208 pounds, 28 years old, 4.54 40-yard dash
Culliver has the advantage athletically, but Jones has a big thing working in his favor: He’s probably going to face Culliver one-on-one most of the time. Donte Whitner will be helping Patrick Willis cover Jermichael Finley, and Dashon Goldson will be helping Tarell Brown cover Jordy Nelson. Culliver is good, but I don’t think he can lock down a good veteran receiver by himself just yet.
CB Perrish Cox: 6-0, 198 pounds, 25-years old, 4.56 40-yard dash
WR Randall Cobb: 5-10, 192 pounds, 22 years old, 4.37 40-yard dash
The Packers are not afraid to use four-wide-receiver formations on second- and third-and-long. I expect them to use these formations more often than usual against the 49ers, forcing them to substitute No. 4 cornerback Perrish Cox for All Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman. When Cox comes in the game, he’ll most likely match up with the Packers’ No.2 pick from last year, Randall Cobb. Both Cobb and Cox are inexperienced, but Cobb is much faster, so he gets the edge.
FYI – as I’ve already told you, I’m flying out tomorrow with my dad for Sunday’s game against the Packers. We’re having dinner with Ira Miller Friday night in Chicago, and then my dad will drive up to Appleton, Wis., on Saturday afternoon.