When exactly was the last time the 49ers played a challenging game this season?
Ex-49ers and Green Bay Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert, who recently appeared on the “Up & Adams Show” has suggested that it has been about seven weeks, or nearly two months, since Kyle Shanahan laced them up for a game that was worth the effort. And if you do the math, he was referring to the 49ers’ trip to Lincoln Financial Field back in Week 13.
Benkert quickly doubled down on his take, claiming that the 49ers’ lack of a recent challenging opponent will be disadvantageous to them when they host the Packers this Saturday.
“It matters a lot,” Benkert told Adams. “I was going through this last night and looking at who they’ve played, and when’s the last time the 49ers have won a meaningful game? Or a game that gave them a little bit of a sweat? It’s been over a month, probably seven weeks, almost two months.”
When Adams mentioned the 49ers’ bad-look loss to the Baltimore Ravens followed by a bounce-back victory over the Washington Commanders and two weeks off, the retired quarterback and former San Francisco practice squad member made his case for Green Bay’s late-season survival instincts.
“And I’m looking at it: the Packers have probably played playoff games, essentially, for the last five weeks,” Benkert added.
“Like every single week if they lost, they would have not been in the playoffs or would have been kicked out. So, I just think when they playoffs start everything resets, and the Packers couldn’t be playing much better.
“They didn’t really give up points to the Cowboys until they put their backups in and weren’t really playing aggressively, trying to play safer and not get hurt.
“As far as meaningful football goes, the Packers have played a lot more really well in the recent weeks. I don’t know, this game just feels really weird. Like, the 49ers should win. They have the better roster. They have it all better. But the Packers.”
As the NFC’s No.1 playoff seed, the 49ers played six weeks straight going into their first-round bye, winning four of six games and ending the regular season with an conference-best 12-5 record.
Meanwhile, the Packers had to overcome a sluggish 2-5 start, squeezing their way into Super Wild Card Weekend by winning their last four games of the season and upsetting the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.
Both teams certainly have contrasting paths leading up to Levi’s Stadium this weekend, but whether or not it will give either team an advantage is only up for debate – and Benkert is willing to do just that.