In a rematch of Week 1 of the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers will face the Green Bay Packers, this time at home, for the right to face the winner between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.
In what will surely be a tough matchup for San Francisco, the team’s success will largely depend on second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who’ll be making his playoff debut against the team he rooted for as a child. Despite being in a new situation against a team featuring the NFL’s reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers in his first playoff game, here’s three reasons why Kaepernick will lead the 49ers past the Packers and all the way to the Super Bowl.
Out of all of the quarterbacks left in the playoffs, Kaepernick certainly has the best “big-play” speed of the bunch. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady all have great pocket presence, mobility and awareness for the position. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks has had a great year rushing with 489 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. That being said, he is clearly the most dangerous running quarterback left with Robert Griffin III out the equation. This could certainly have a huge effect on the 49ers’ success this season.
Kaepernick can throw the ball hard. So hard in fact that he dislocated one of Randy Moss’ fingers in his first NFL start. Simply put, his arm strength gives him the abilities to make throws former starter Alex Smith could never make. Combining this with his speed gives him a deadly combination that is unstoppable when on point.
Growing as a leader
Even with just seven career starts under his belt, Kaepernick has shown great growth as a leader. A very mature 25-year-old, he’s hungry as a young second-year quarterback and has shown a determination to come off the bench and lead the offense. Whether it is by example or during times when he quickly leads the offense down the field with ease, his character and command of the offense are great parts of his overall makeup as the 49ers’ starting quarterback of the present and future.
Austin Chang is a Writer for Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.