49ers vs. Packers: Game Preview and Prediction
Jose Luis Sanchez III
The San Francisco 49ers have become must watch football for anyone who is a football fan. That is why the NFL decided to flex them into primetime on Sunday night football against the Green Bay Packers. Much like against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, this is a must watch for any and all football fans.
What makes this even better is the long history of phenomenal games between these two franchises. There is no doubt that there is a rivalry between these two. Sunday night will add another game to the long list of historic games. Because this game will be must watch, the 49ers will struggle in this game. Both teams will not find it easy to get what they want in this game.
However, early on at the very least, the Packers may be able to strike quick. That is because they are coming off of a bye, so they should be well-rested and prepared. The amount of film that they have watched on the 49ers should have them essentially in their minds. Luckily, the 49ers have the wizard Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh who are the top coaches of scheme and innovation.
Unfortunately, scheme and innovation can only do so much when going up against an elite quarterback. I'm referring to none other than Aaron Rodgers. The 49ers' defense will want to limit Rodgers' "Discount Double Check" celebrations to give them a chance to win. The main way to do that is by lighting up Rodgers with every chance they get. Making their presence known early-on will be the only way he will be uncomfortable. The last thing the 49ers want is to allow Rodgers to get into rhythm.
Pressure, pressure, and oh yea more pressure is needed against him. That will, however, be a little difficult since they will be without Dee Ford. He doesn't tally a ton of snaps in a game, but the snaps he does record are efficient. The pass rush of the 49ers is not that deep. With Ronald Blair also out for the year, the rest of the starters will have to step up. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon will be making his return to the starting lineup. He undoubtedly will be a point of emphasis to be targeted by Rodgers.
The defense of the 49ers is basically the key to the game, but that doesn't mean the offense gets off of the hook. Establishing the run has not been going so well for the 49ers over the last couple of weeks. They only tallied 14 yards last week against the Cardinals, which says a lot. Defenses have just been selling out against the run by stacking the box. However, the 49ers must be able to sustain drives to keep Rodgers on the sideline, especially if the pass rush is not getting to him.
The good news for the 49ers is that George Kittle is likely going to return after being absent the last two games. Also, Emmanuel Sanders is supposedly feeling like his ribs are back to normal health again. Green Bay's defense is not something that should hold the 49ers' offense long, especially with Kittle and Sanders in the lineup. This game will be another one for the books between these two teams.
The Packers are rested and prepared, while the 49ers are climbing back to full strength again. All eyes will be on these two teams and a win can easily sway the balance of the playoffs for them. This will be tough for the 49ers to pull out of this with a win, but if Kittle and Sanders do make their return, it is difficult to see the 49ers not winning this one.
Final: Packers 24 49ers 27