Nationals

NFL Playoffs Capsule: Packers at 49ers

NFL Playoffs Capsule: Packers at 49ers

GREEN BAY (12-5) At SAN FRANCISCO (11-4-1)

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - 49ers by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Green Bay 10-7, San Francisco 9-7

SERIES RECORD - Packers lead 34-27-1

AP Pro32 RANKING - Packers, No. 6; 49ers, No. 3

LAST MEETING - 49ers beat Packers, 30-22, Sept. 9

LAST WEEK - Packers beat Vikings 24-10; 49ers had bye.

PACKERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (13), RUSH (20), PASS (9)

PACKERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (11), RUSH (17), PASS (11)

49ERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (11), RUSH (4), PASS (23)

49ERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (3), RUSH (4), PASS (4)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Green Bay ranks No. 3 in league history with 30 postseason wins, while San Francisco ranks No. 4 with 26 playoff victories. ... Teams last played in divisional playoffs in 1996, with Green Bay winning 35-14. ... Packers have won four of five previous meetings against 49ers in playoffs, including two of three at Candlestick Park. Overall, Green Bay has won 13 of its last 15 games against 49ers, but dropped season opener at Lambeau Field 30-22. ... Franchises last met in postseason in wild-card game after 2001 season at Lambeau Field, 25-15 Green Bay win. ... Playoff meeting in the 2001 season was last time teams played where each had 11-plus wins - both with 12-4 records. ...Teams played each postseason from 1995-98. ... This marks sixth time these teams meet in postseason, tied for second most by Packers against one opponent and behind seven playoff matchups with Giants. ... Green Bay owns three-game road playoff winning streak dating to 2010 title run and is 3-1 on road in playoffs under coach Mike McCarthy. ... Packers are only NFC team to reach divisional playoffs each of last three years. ... Green Bay gave up 10 points to Vikings in wild-card game for fewest allowed in playoff game since 10 at San Francisco on Jan. 11, 1998. ... Packers QB and Northern California native Aaron Rodgers passed on by 49ers with No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005 as Alex Smith went first and Rodgers fell to 24. ... Rodgers has 110-plus passer rating in four of his seven career postseason starts. That's tied for fourth in league history behind Joe Montana (six in 23 starts), Brett Favre (five in 24 starts) and Tom Brady (five in 22 starts). ... Rodgers hasn't thrown interception in five straight games, 177 passes. ... Green Bay WR Greg Jennings has 19 receptions for 226 yards and three TDs over last three games. ... Packers have five turnovers in last six games. Meanwhile, they have held opponents to 20 or fewer points in nine of last 11. ... Packers went 4-4 away from home this season. ... 49ers 12-3 at home in divisional playoff games. ... 49ers didn't have three-game winning streak all season. ... San Francisco defense allowed only 36 drives to reach red zone all year, tops in NFL. ... 49ers TE Vernon Davis, having quiet year, has 16 catches for 351 yards and 4 TDs in four career games vs. Green Bay, including one touchdown in each game. ... San Francisco RB Frank Gore ran for 112 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown in season opener at Lambeau. Gore also had 130 yards on 18 carries and a TD against Packers on Dec. 10, 2006. ... WR Randy Moss' 14 touchdowns receiving against Green Bay are most by any player in NFL history vs. Packers. His 1,320 yards receiving against Packers rank No. 2 in league history. ... WR Michael Crabtree's first career touchdown catch came at Green Bay on Nov. 22, 2009 (38-yarder from Alex Smith). ... 49ers LB Aldon Smith went final three games without sack to finish with 19 1/2 and three shy of Michael Strahan's single-season record set in 2001 with Giants. ... DE/DT Justin Smith expected to play after he missed final two games with partially torn left triceps muscle. ... 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick makes first playoff start. ... San Francisco will use struggling veteran PK David Akers over newcomer Billy Cundiff. While Akers has been inconsistent making just 29 of 42 field goals, Cundiff missed potential tying 32-yarder that might have cost Harbaugh's big brother John's Baltimore Ravens trip to last season's Super Bowl in loss to New England for AFC championship.

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Can Nationals’ key six make it through three more wins?

Can Nationals’ key six make it through three more wins?

HOUSTON -- Going 1-0 is taxing.

Ask the Nationals pitchers. Just make sure to talk with the select few being used. 

Washington is trying to finish a World Series win behind six pitchers. Maybe six-and-a-half, at most seven, if Tanner Rainey and Fernando Rodney are included. No matchup guys. No bullpen depth. Just a formula of tying the yoke to one of four starters that day, then Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle when necessary.

The question is if those six people can make it through three more wins.

A few things have made this approach viable. One is the starting rotation being populated with guys accustomed to a lot of innings. Washington finished with two of the top five in innings pitched this year (Stephen Strasburg at No. 2 and Patrick Corbin at No. 5), in addition to Max Scherzer, who routinely leads the league in innings pitched. Another is a willingness to accept varied roles and workload in the bullpen. The idea of a “closer” has been tossed outside. A person to obtain key outs is inserted into the game at the most crucial -- and beneficial -- time. 

“I think it’s Huddy,” Sean Doolittle said when asked why the bullpen has worked this way. “I think when you have an anchor like that at the back of the bullpen, it kind of lets guys slide into certain spots in front of him. And when he can go multiple innings and come in early in the game with runners on base -- that’s tough. Not a lot of guys who pitch in that closer’s role are comfortable doing that. But he has experience pitching in so many different roles, he brings that versatility to our group.”

Corbin has helped. He came out of the bullpen again Tuesday to wipe three more outs away and help the Nationals earn a 1-0 series lead. He appears likely to start Game 4 in Nationals Park after pitching his “bullpen session” in Game 1 of the World Series. Among the questions for Corbin, and Davey Martinez, is if Corbin is available for one out Wednesday night in Game 2. Picture left-handed Michael Brantley up with two runners on base and two out in the seventh inning. Brantley’s career OPS against left-handed pitchers is 125 points lower than it is against right-handed pitchers. Martinez said he would speak to Corbin late Monday to see what’s next.

Doolittle was already prognosticating after Game 1. Tomorrow may always be just a day away, but it might as well not exist in this current formula.

“Regardless of the score, the situation, I think we all expected to be in there in some capacity,” Doolittle said. “And I think guys are willing to go multiple innings -- we’ll figure tomorrow out tomorrow. Stras is going to give us a good start and we feel good about having him out there, and he’s going to go as long as he can. We’ll piece it together after that. I think that’s how we’ve thought about it here for a while.”

And, is there enough juice for the six pitchers to handle the current day, eventually turning “tomorrow” into a parade?

“Oh my gosh,” Doolittle said. “Are you kidding me? YES. Yes. We just had a few days off. Us old guys got to put our feet up and rest a little bit. Then we had a couple really good workouts before we came down here. But, at this point in the season, you’re feeding off adrenaline so much. We’re all a little bit tired, sure. Not a lot of guys have been here before. This is the latest they’ve ever played. But when you’re out there, there’s so much adrenaline, there’s so much energy you’re just feeding off that so much. I think we are absolutely in a good spot physically and mentally for the rest of the series.”

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The Vikings will be without Adam Thielen against the Redskins in Week 7

The Vikings will be without Adam Thielen against the Redskins in Week 7

When Kirk Cousins faces the Redskins on Thursday for the first time since leaving the franchise in 2018, the quarterback will be without arguably his favorite wide receiver.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen will miss Thursday's contest vs. Washington with a hamstring injury. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news.

Thielen injured his hamstring crashing into a barricade after hauling in a touchdown in the Vikings' 42-30 victory over the Lions on Sunday. The injury isn't expected to be serious, and Thielen might have been able to play this week had the Vikings not been playing on Thursday night. Minnesota expects him to return to action next week.

The wide receiver is a considerable loss to the Minnesota offense, as only Stefon Diggs has more receiving yards for Vikings this season than Thielen. His six receiving touchdowns lead the team, too.

The Vikings have won four straight games, and even with Thielen's injury, are still more than a two-touchdown favorite over the 1-6 Redskins.

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