Three Keys to Victory for the 49ers Against the Packers
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Do-or-die is the name of the game on Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers when they play host to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship. The 49ers mopped the floor with the Packers in their initial matchup in week 12, which ended up being their worst loss of the season.
However, lightning striking twice is not a common thing. The 49ers won’t have it as easy as they did in week 12 with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Green Bay is sure to pull no punches in this contest, with revenge adding an extra incentive to win.
In order to avoid having their Super Bow hopes crushed, the 49ers must follow these three Keys to victory against the Packers.
Generate effective pressure
What made the 49ers’ week 12 matchup against the Packers so one-sided was the pressure they were putting on Aaron Rodgers. From the get go, the 49ers’ pass rush set the tone with a strip sack of Rodgers. That lead to the 49ers finishing with an easy walk in score. Rodgers was sacked six times that night and is something the 49ers will need to replicate.
Holding Rodgers to career statistical lows won’t happen again in this matchup. However, they can keep him from performing to his elite level. Generating effective pressure is key for the 49ers to keep the Packers on their heels. There is a good chance that they can have a similar performance because they have Dee Ford back this time.
It’s just going to be too much talent to handle for the Packers’ offensive line. What made the pressure so effective in week 12 was that the defense was never on the field for an extended period of time. They were able to stay fresh for most of the game, which is why they were so effective without Ford.
Control time of possession
With how great the pass rush of the 49ers is, it’s easy to overlook what contributes to it. The offense aids the pass rush and the defense as a whole when they control the time of possession. By sustaining drives, the offense allows the defense ample time for rest. That also includes any adjustments that Robert Saleh can make.
It’s why running the football is a key factor to this team. The defense gets its rest and time for adjustments. They do not need to go out on the field for extra possession, which is critical for the defensive line that lacks depth. Whereas the Packers defense will eventually tire out due to the continuous long drives that the 49ers are executing.
By the time it is the second half, they will be worn out and susceptible to big plays. It puts the pressure on the offense of the Packers when they get back on the field. An added bonus is that it’ll keep Rodgers on the sideline, so he won’t be able to find a rhythm.
Avoid costly mistakes
The third and final key for the 49ers to defeat the Packers is to avoid costly mistakes. Head-to-head mistake free football will most likely see the 49ers as victorious in this matchup. That makes it critical for them not to shoot themselves in the foot. Doing so will offset any edge that the 49ers have on the Packers, which will make it too close of a game.
The 49ers are a good enough team to overcome a mistake. However, the magnitude of this game is greater than any this team has been apart of. The margin for error is slim, especially against another great team in the Packers. The last thing the 49ers want is to give the Packers any hope in this game. Granting them turnovers of any sort will boost their spirits.
Look no further than the week 12 matchup when the 49ers forced an early fumble to go up 7-0 within minutes of the game starting. All it takes is one mistake to cost this team. So long as they play their game and do not commit mental errors, then they will garner positive results.