To the excitement of football fans everywhere it was announced a week ago that the
(8-2) Green Bay Packers match-up with the (9-1) San Francisco 49ers would be flexed to the Sunday Night Football prime time spot for Week 12. This match-up replacing the enticing Eagles/Seahawks match-up previously scheduled. The 49ers have found a way through the first ten weeks to be nearly perfect mainly through the running game, however relying on a stellar late drive orchestrated by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a week ago against the Arizona Cardinals. Kyle Shanahan is in his second year as head coach in San Francisco installing a heavy run scheme that has the 49ers 2nd in the NFL averaging 149 yards per game. The defense has been pretty good as well ranking 1st against the pass only allowing an average of 142.5 yards to opposing quarterbacks and they rank 2nd in total defense only behind the New England Patriots. The 49ers have been giving teams fits all season, but have they been figured out and how will the Packers expose them?
Many know by now that Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Matt Lefleur all used to be young up and coming coordinators for the Washington Redskins. Lefleur and Shanahan actually go back to Atlanta as well, where both were young coaches for the Falcons. These two see the game much more alike than the Rams coach Sean McVay. Lefleur has talked into even more depth when asked before about his coaching style in comparison to Shanahan saying they "see the game very alike." The Packers brought Lafleur in to give them this same boost in the running game and so far through the season it has worked. Packers running back Aaron Jones has over 500 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. While the 49ers are good defending the pass they are just middle of the road against the run ranking 20th in the league. This gives the Packers an avenue to pound the ground early and often with Adams as well as secondary back Jamall Williams. Success on the ground leads to Aaron Rodgers having more openings to pass the ball down field, which he does better than any quarterback in the league. The 49ers will have a even harder time on the offensive side of the ball as the Packers get after the quarterback better than most teams in the NFL with 25 team sacks on the season. While the 49ers rank 6th in sacks given up per game. This all spells a very tough day for Jimmy G and company as he will be put in the position to make good decisions with the ball which he can't do very well under pressure with 10 interceptions on the season.
I'm not saying this is going to be a easy match-up for the Packers or anything, they need to stuff the 49ers run game early in the game to secure success. The Packers rank 18th against the run giving up on average 102 yards per game. They have however tightened up in the run defense as of late and if they keep the 49ers in longer yardage situations stuffing the run early they are in great shape. Making Garoppolo throw under pressure as stated before is where to keep them, as the Packers defense has picked off opposing quarterbacks 9 times this season. Packers will control the clock on the ground, play great defense, and sprinkle a couple big plays from the baaaad man Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night leading to surprising blowout 31-10.