Aaron Rodgers knew he and the Green Bay Packers would have to beat the 49ers at Levi's Stadium one way or another to reach Super Bowl LIV.
The star quarterback hoped that would be in Week 12, when the Packers and 49ers met on "Sunday Night Football." It was not the Packers' night, though, as Rodgers fumbled on the fifth play of the game. The 49ers recovered the ball at the Packers' 8-yard line, scored on the next play, and the rout was on. Final score: 49ers 37, Packers 8.
After the game, Rodgers had a message for his counterpart, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Aaron Rodgers had a message for Jimmy G after the #49ers beat the #Packers back in November: "We'll see you later on." Rodgers gets his wish. Packers coming to town next Sunday for the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium. pic.twitter.com/LZRAFm0OV5— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) January 13, 2020
Rodgers proved himself prophetic Sunday when he led the Packers to a 28-23 NFC divisional-round playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field, setting up an NFC Championship Game date with Garoppolo and the 49ers next Sunday at Levi's.
The 49ers easily handled the Minnesota Vikings in their divisional-round matchup Saturday, holding Kirk Cousins and Co. to 147 total yards in a 27-10 win.
Green Bay flew under the radar all week, with almost everyone dreaming of a third tilt between the 49ers and NFC West rival Seahawks. But it was not to be, as Rodgers shredded the Seahawks on third down and now will head back to the Bay to face the 49ers for the right to go to Miami and Super Bowl LIV.
While the 49ers did dismantle the Packers earlier this season, expect a different type of game next Sunday. While Rodgers was far from his star self this season, he still has the skills to pick apart teams.
It will be matchup rich with history and storyline -- and one Rodgers knew would happen one way or the other.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)
Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.