Week 3 has arrived and, as was widely expected, the 49ers head into their prime time home opener undefeated to face their first real test of the season against the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers have held up their end of the deal and open Levi’s Stadium after back to back wins to begin the season and, in the famous words of Major League’s Lou Brown, have a chance at a winning streak.
Let’s take a look at this weeks best and worst case scenarios against the Pack on Sunday.
Best Case Scenario: It’s pretty simple, actually. The 49ers will manhandle the Packers in the trenches on both sides of the ball and this one could get out of hand quickly.
At least one 49ers running back will make it to game time healthy and that will be all that’s needed to out-physical a soft Packers defense and allow them to control the game on the ground. Jimmy Garoppolo will probably throw more than eight passes this time around but it will be by choice from play caller Kyle Shanahan and not anything forced by the Packers. Former All Pro George Kittle will make his long-awaited season debut (in they eyes of fans) and actually provide an electric play on offense for the first time this season. A perfect scenario could see the 49ers offense getting on a roll with Garoppolo having a strong game including multiple touchdown passes. Trey Lance will have at least one rushing touchdown in this game as he will likely get playing time for most of the 4th quarter in a blowout.
The Packers offensive line will revert back to their old selves that were immortalized by endless State Farm and Allstate memes following the 2020 NFC Championship. Aaron Rodgers will quit by half time after being sacked 3-plus times in the first half and we actually may see head coach Matt LaFleur bring in backup quarterback Jordan Love once the game is out of hand. Yes, we could see a Jordan Love, Trey Lance duel to end the game. The 49ers defense will be successful in limiting superstar wide receiver Davante Adams fewer than 100 yards receiving mainly due to the pressure from a stout pass rush and physical bump and run coverage from cornerback Deommodore Lenoir. Packers running back Aaron Jones will have a solid game but the 49ers defense will ultimately be too physical for the Packers offensive line and that will prove to be the difference.
Worst Case Scenario: The 49ers will go into Sunday with a banged up running back group and will struggle to run the ball. The Packers offense will come alive with a balanced attack and will completely dominate the time of possession in the game.
Let’s face it, the 49ers cannot succeed against a good team without a strong running game. Well, the 49ers currently have no healthy running backs on their active roster and this will prove to be a problem. The Packers will sell out to pressure Garoppolo since the 49ers will come into the game with no running attack and the offense will struggle for a second consecutive week. Combining single-high safety looks with blitzes, the Packers will pressure Garoppolo all day and he will throw multiple interceptions in this game. Lance will once again not make an appearance in the game as the 49ers will be playing catch-up for the majority of the evening and that is not an environment that will help him build any confidence.
Aaron Rodgers will finally get into a rhythm and the 49ers secondary will have no answers for Davante Adams. The 49ers defense will be thin at cornerback all season and this will particularly hurt them when they have to face elite wide receiver talent. The 49ers defense has struggled against the run in both games this season and Aaron Jones will make that a third week in a row. Long, gashing runs up the middle will cause defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to try and blitz to manufacture pressure but that’s when Rodgers will make the 49ers pay. Unlike their first two opponents this season, the Packers have the ability to beat the 49ers over the top and will do so in this game.
Chuy’s Prediction: This will be a tougher game than anyone expects but the 49ers will edge out the Packers 26-24 to move to 3-0 on the season.
The 49ers offense will sputter as the Packers will come into this game trying to shed the stigma of being a soft football team. They will blitz the 49ers offense all day and the run game will struggle for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo will have a pedestrian outing but will be bailed out by George Kittle and Trent Sherfield in this game. I expect Garoppolo to throw up at least 3 deep attempts to receivers this game and Sherfield will be the beneficiary of one house call. George Kittle will have a vintage Kittle game and catch 12 intermediate passes on a combination of out routes and schemed misdirection play action plays.
The 49ers defense will be stout as usual at the line of scrimmage but I do expect them to struggle against the run. The Packers in their attempt to try and prove they are a physical football team will actually be successful on the ground but this will hurt them. They will get in their own heads and limit their best attribute in this game which is Aaron Rodgers passing to anybody else on the field until its too late. Dee Ford will have a big game late and get a strip sack fumble in crunch time sealing the victory for the 49ers.
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