Free agent kicker Billy Cundiff was called in to challenge the struggling Akers for the starting spot this last week in Saturday's playoff game against the Packers, and Cundiff was widely considered the favorite to take over for
Akers. That was the not the case, however, as Jim Harbaugh announced on Thursday that it would be Akers kicking against Green Bay -- not Cundiff.
Whether or not Akers actually won the "kicking competition" is irrelevant at this point. Harbaugh has bestowed his confidence in Akers, and we will find out on Saturday if that is the right move for a kicker without a hint of confidence on the field in past weeks.
Justin Smith continued to be limited at practice on Thursday, and the jury is still out on how much of a factor he can be on the field against the Packers.
With Justin Smith's ability to be effective comes Aldon Smith's opportunities to get to Aaron Rodgers on Saturday, and that will be needed immensely in what will be a tough matchup for the 49ers against the red-hot Packers.