With the way things are going for the San Francisco 49ers, beating the 3-0 Green Bay Packers seems like a tall order. The Niners have looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL in recent weeks, getting out scored 90-25 in back-to-back road losses. They can’t score points, the can’t stop anyone and…well you get the drift. How in the world can they beat the Pack? Here are three things that must happen.
49ers Must Play Ball Control On Offense
Look, you’re not going to stop QB Aaron Rodgers. Even when San Francisco routinely beat Green Bay during the Jim Harbaugh ear, Rodgers still did damage. The 49ers had to outscore the Pack and they did so by scoring over 30 points in three of the four victories during this time frame.
I don’t know if they can reach 30 in this game given the issues at hand on offense, but playing a ball control style of play will go a long way in keeping things manageable. The way to draw this one up will be to go to the run and stick to it, and hope you can wear down a Packer’s defense that is giving up 5.0 yards per carry.
RB Carlos Hyde had 168 yards on 26 carries in Week 1, but has 28 carries for 94 since. He should be the focal point of the offense on Sunday, getting the ball around 30 times. Hopefully the 49ers’ defense can do enough to slow down the Pack, and the Niners can stay with this game plan in a close contest.
Pass Rush, Pass Rush, Pass Rush
There is one tried and true method to slow down even the best quarterbacks, and that’s to pressure them. Even the great one’s can’t make big throws if they’re on their back, and San Francisco has to find a way to get to Rodgers. With a very young and inexperienced secondary that’s been torched the past couple of weeks, the front seven will have to step up their game and force Rodgers to be uncomfortable in pocket.
The problem is, there hasn’t been much of a pass rush lately, and the Niners only have one sack in their past two games. If 49ers DC Eric Mangini is going to try and blitz, he’d better disguise it well or there could be some big plays to be had. If not, OLB Aaron Lynch will need to play big and OLB Ahmad Brooks will have to turn back the clock. Might be a good idea to unleash ILB Navorro Bowman in some creative ways as well.
Rodgers Gets Food Poisoning
Obviously, I’m kidding here. Sort of. Maybe he’ll get lost coming to the stadium, and miss the game all together. Does Olivia Munn have a premiere or something he can go to instead? The 49ers have given up big yardage through the air to two very good quarterbacks (QB Ben Roethisberger and QB Carson Palmer) the past two weeks, but Rodgers is the best in the NFL right now.
Through three games, he’s completed 74.6 percent of his throws and has 10 touchdowns to no interceptions. Is it possible he’s off a little playing a road game after a short week? Absolutely. And if that’s the case the Niners have to take advantage of every opportunity. If not, well, let’s just try and stay positive and think about that pass rush stepping up…okay??????