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Once the NFL’s second season begins, the stakes get much higher for Aaron Rodgers. Though it always hasn’t been his fault, the Green Bay Packers quarterback hasn’t had a whole lot of success in the postseason. More specifically, he’s had zero success against Saturday’s opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. He’s winless in three playoff attempts against them, but he’s in a great spot to deliver on a 17-year-old promise.

Aaron Rodgers looking to take the next step in the NFL postseason

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers passes during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on September 26, 2021, in Santa Clara, California. | Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images.

If it feels like it’s been forever since Rodgers has been to the Super Bowl, it’s because it has been. Not since the 2010 season have the Packers played in a championship game, and that’s concerning for a team that has a three-time MVP, who may have earned his fourth this season.

Green Bay has reached the NFL title game the last two seasons but came up empty. A year ago, they were beaten at home by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers despite picking off the seven-time Super Bowl champion three times in the second half. The year before, Rodgers and the Packers were shut out on the road in the first half of their meeting with the 49ers, who won 37-20.

The Packers defeated the Niners in the regular season this year when Rodgers drove his team downfield in 37 seconds to set up a game-winning field goal from Mason Crosby. Although it was a good win for the Packers, it wasn’t a postseason one. Those just haven’t happened against San Francisco.

In the 2012 postseason, the Packers fell to the Niners 45-31 and then lost again to them the following season 23-20 at home.

Rodgers is 38 and still playing at a high level. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 10 and is the favorite to win another MVP. All that is wonderful, but now he has to prove he can take the Packers to the next level.

Aaron Rodgers hoping to deliver on a 17-year-old promise to the 49ers

Rodgers grew up rooting for the 49ers. He watched the Niners dominate in the late 1980s and early 90s. He loved Joe Montana. Rodgers said back in 2019 that it was those San Francisco teams that helped create the path to his career in professional football.

“That was so important for me, as far as setting dreams and goals was being able to watch the late ’80s and early ’90s 49ers teams, which were obviously fantastic,” Rodgers said, per NBC Sports. “I remember sitting down, we’d have a big Super Bowl party, and watching (Joe Montana) and The Drive. Then thinking, even at 5, 6 years old, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to go out and be like that.'”

In 2005, Rodgers thought there was a chance he could play for that team he grew up with. San Francisco had the first pick in the draft. They were taking a quarterback but it was uncertain if it would be Rodgers or Alex Smith. They went with Smith, and Rodgers had the longest wait of his life until the Packers finally selected him with the 24th overall pick.

When he finally was selected, Rodgers was asked how disappointed he was that he wouldn’t be playing for the 49ers.

“Not as disappointed as the 49ers will be that they didn’t draft me,” he said.

He’s had three postseason chances to deliver on that promise and hasn’t been able to. Saturday night at home in frigid conditions, Rodgers is in prime position to make good on that comment from 17 years ago.

Rodgers and the Packers are in prime position to finally defeat the 49ers in a playoff game

Everything is lined up nicely for the Packers. As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, they were the lone playoff team in the conference to have last week off. They are well-rested, and they are set to have some of their injured players, including Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith return for the postseason.

Green Bay is nearly a touchdown favorite, and the weather conditions favor the Packers as the temperature is expected to be in the single digits during game time.

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is also dealing with a couple of injuries, one to his thumb and the other to his shoulder. He has no plans of sitting out.

“It’s playoff football,” Garoppolo said Tuesday, per Cam Inman of The Mercury News. “We know what time it is. No time to rest right now.”

Things are lining up nicely for the Packers, but that means nothing when it comes to the playoffs, especially when they are playing the 49ers.