Last time the 49ers and Green Bay Packers met, Aaron Rodgers and Co. were embarrassed on national television as the Niners announced themselves as legitimate Super Bowl contenders with a 37-8 stomping at Levi's Stadium.
Now, the Packers will return to Santa Clara with a trip to Super Bowl LIV on the line when they face the 49ers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
The 29-point beatdown in their first meeting has many already penciling in the 49ers as the NFC champions. It certainly played a role in Vegas making them heavy betting favorites.
But NBC Sports' Chris Simms believes the previous throttling actually could help the Packers.
"The Packers have gotten better on the defensive side of the ball, and they've been pretty consistent offensively," Simms said. "Plus, this week they are going to be waking up every day fearing that they are going to get blown out again. They are going to be motivated by fear, which is a good thing.
"I think Green Bay will get the advantage of, 'Hey, been there, done that.' We've played in this stadium. We know what to expect with the crowd noise, the defensive line, how explosive and ferocious they are. That'll help them out for some of that and some of the tendencies they saw there ... The 49ers can roll into this game feeling confident. They are the better football team. But as we know, it's the NFL. Between being scared like the Green Bay Packers should be, or having that fear and coming up with some curveballs in their game planning, and Aaron Rodgers has been in this game before and there's great belief in him -- and we know in the difference between a blowout and a close game is like three of four plays, so I expect a much closer game this time."
The 49ers know they can't rest on the Week 12 blowout if they plan to move on to Miami. Rodgers knew he'd have to go through Levi's Stadium one way or another, and the legendary quarterback appears to be playing his best ball at the perfect time.
Green Bay will have to get running back Aaron Jones going in order to slow down Nick Bosa and the Niners' pass rush. A successful running game should give Rodgers time to find Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham in the passing game. If Jones can't get going, Rodgers will be running for his life all night.
Simms believes the fear will help the Packers keep it close, but he's still picking the 49ers to win 24-17 and advance to the Super Bowl.
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.