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Key Matchups: Packers vs. 49ers- Getting the Packers Season Back on Track

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Key Matchups: Packers vs. 49ers- Getting the Packers Season Back on Track

After Sunday afternoons pathetic performance in Detroit, the Packers have had time to lick their wounds, make self-corrections, and prepare for Monday Nights primetime battle against the San Francisco 49ers.  Despite playing their worst football of the season, the Packers surprisingly still rank as one of the NFL’s top teams (I know it surprised me as well).  According to pro football focus elite stats, the Green Bay Packers enter week 6 as the 7th best team in the NFL with an 81.6 grade, and their offense ranks 6th in the NFL with a 76.0 grade, while their defense ranks 7th in the NFL with a grade of 79.3.  

These stats tell us two things, one when the Packers play a complete sixty minutes of football they are a playoff quality football team, and two, if they do not straighten things out quickly, the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of Mike McCarthy.  

With this being said, I see Monday Nights matchup with San Francisco to play out similarly to the Buffalo contest just two short weeks ago.  The statistics tell us that San Francisco is a much inferior opponent (67.8 overall grade) and is reeling from losing their 100 million dollar star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, which means that Green Bay will be looking to exploit the deficiencies on their roster early and often.  

The gameplan to coast towards an easy win against the 49ers is pretty straightforward, The Packers must play a relatively mistake-free sixty minutes of football.  Here are three key matchups that I believe the Packers will use to their advantage during Monday Night’s Showdown:

Key Matchups:

1. The Packers front seven vs. The 49ers offensive line:

I believe that the key to dramatically swinging this game in the Packers favor will be to shut down the running game and make the 49ers fully rely on C.J Beathard’s arm to move the ball down the field and win them the game.  In order to do that, the Packers will have to expose the 49ers below average run blocking offensive lineman.  

Aside from Right Tackle Mike McGlinchey, the rest of the 49ers offensive lineman have run blocking grades of 65.4 at Right Guard (Mike Pearson), 66.5 at left guard (Laken Tomlinson), 53.0 at center (Weston Richburg), and 65.0 at left tackle (Joe Staley).  These are matchups that Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, and Blake Martinez among others, must be able to exploit so that the Packers can consistently stifle and contain Matt Breida and Alfred Morris to 2-3 yards on their rushing attempts.  A stifled running game will cause the 49ers to become one dimensional and allow Mike Pettine to dial up blitzes which will force C.J Beathard to unload the ball early and force the ball into tight coverage.  

2. Aaron Rodgers vs. Richard Sherman and company:

One of San Francisco's biggest free agent acquisitions this offseason was Richard Sherman.  It was thought that he would be the signing that would provide a cornerstone for the 49er defense much like Jimmy Garoppolo was supposed to provide for the offense.  However, with Jimmy G sidelined for the season, Sherman’s signing seems to be an afterthought for this season moving forward.  With the 49ers season falling apart Richard Sherman will be called upon to make a difference both in the locker room and on the field in hopes that he can bring back some order to an organization that is now in disarray.  

These sentiments are all well and good but the reality is that Richard Sherman is less than a year removed from a ruptured Achilles injury that has many wondering whether he's lost a step.  Sherman still has a respectable defensive grading but, if there was ever a time to exploit him down the field, now would be the time.  I could see Aaron Rodgers testing Sherman in both the slant and deep game with Davante Adams.

Aside from the matchup with Richard Sherman, I see a lot of members of the 49ers secondary that Rodgers will look to exploit. I look for Geronimo Allison to have plenty of targets against Akhello Witherspoon, and Jimmy Graham to have plenty of opportunities to exploit the 49ers safety tandem of Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.  

3. The Injury Report vs. Both Teams:

Both of these teams enter Monday Nights matchup with a plethora of players listed on their respective injury reports.  The difference to this game could boil down to which team has the most number of key contributors fully active from their respective injury lists.  On the Packers side, all indications look a bit more positive with Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Brian Bulaga, Bashaud Breeland, Kevin King, Nick Perry, Jimmy Graham, Jaire Alexander, Justin McCray, Kentrell Brice, Jermaine Whitehead, and Aaron Rodgers participating in practice on some capacity on Friday. (Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Graham both received the day off on Saturday).   

Meanwhile, things have not looked as bright on the already decimated 49ers side of things, seeing Matt Breida, Pierre Garcon, and Dante Pettis all miss Friday's practice leaving their status as questionable for Monday Nights game.  With the possibility of Brieda and Garcon being game-time decisions and potentially seeing limited reps due to multiple injuries, the 49ers could be forced to call on players even further down on the depth chart to give them meaningful contributions.  

A worst-case scenario could see Alfred Morris splitting reps or becoming the featured back if Breida reaggravates his injuries, while Marquise Goodwin and Richie James could receive an increased number of targets from newly anointed number one quarterback C.J Beathard if Pierre Garcon sees limited action because of his injuries.  


I see this game playing out very similarly to the Buffalo Bills game.  I think that the Packers shut down the 49ers rushing attack and force them to become one-dimensional forcing C.J Beathard to make big plays with his arm.  I see the Packers front seven being able to get an immense amount of pressure causing for sacks, hurried passes, and turnovers, causing this game to get out of hand.  

I see the Packers offense continuing to make strides and Mason Crosby recovering from a career-worst performance.  I expect the Packers defense to shine bright and force multiple turnovers leading to extra possessions and points from Aaron Rodgers and the offense. 

  • I predict the Packers to win by a score of 34-10.
  • I believe the defense will have 4 sacks and 3 turnovers.
  • I think Geronimo Allison returns to action and turns in a 100 yard two touchdown performance.
  • I believe that the Packers play a solid sixty minutes of football on Monday Night. 



David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (67) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

cheesehead1's picture

I really don’t buy into all these rankings as to who is the best team etc. All that matters are wins and losses. Let’s see how we fare against the Rams/Pats.

Rufus's picture

cheese h 1, I like the stats. I like to see who the experts think sucks more. We do need a W. Agreed. Right now were not going to beat a good team they way we are playing. Hopefully big Mike has a real plan for Monday night.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Personally, I don't think we have one on either side of the ball that puts any fear into the other team.

GBPDAN1's picture

Gore just fumbled on the 6 inch line going in for game winning TD against bears in OT.... shit

Update, Bears still Suck!! Lol

4thand10's picture

Bears lost...again.

dobber's picture

If anything should show up as repeat posts, THIS should be it.

Tarynfor12's picture

" These stats tell us two things,"

The Packers are good for Fantasy Football,selectively, but not the kind that gets you a Super Bowl as a whole,in reality football.

henry113's picture

I wonder if there are stats for the Head Coaches?? Where would MM rank??

Jonathan Spader's picture

Stats for HCs are Win/Loss % MM ranks 3rd behind BB and Tomlin.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Who is our big playmaker on offense?
Who is our nig playmaker on defense?


Jonathan Spader's picture

Big playmaker on offense was Rodgers and hopefully he pulls out of his slump and becomes our big playmaker once more. After him Adams, Jones, Graham.

On defense Clark is disruptive but it doesn't always translate to the stat sheet. HHCD is the playmaker on the stat sheet. Alexander has the potential to be a playmaker and if it wasn't for terribly called penalties could already look like one on the stat sheet. We lack an OLB playmaker.

Coldworld's picture

Excellent summary.

A Pickled Packer's picture

Like the notion of comparing this match to the Buffalo game. Maybe the defense pitches another shutout, the QB's are similar and expect Pettine to dial it up and confuse. Would like to see the defense begin to make a name for themselves and develop confidence. Should we shut San Francisco down convincingly we'll be ready for the Rams after the bye, it could be the catalyst game that gets us going. The Rams are ripe for a loss after which the Patriots should start shitting their pants because here we come. Go Pack Go!

Kb999's picture

Fordm Ram, Wishful thinking. I just don't trust this team right now. We don't know what team is going to show up. Like the man wrote, ranked #7 on paper, on the field they stink. With the players they have they should be in every game. This BS of playing from behind every game is on the coaching staff.

Jonathan Spader's picture

They have been in every game except the Washington game. In Detroit they still were in a position to win multiple times. Bad early penalty, missed opportunities by Rodgers, missed FGs from Crosby. The refs are the reason they played from behind in Detroit not the coaches. Sounds like you're the one with wishful thinking.

Kb999's picture

Jon, the refs didn't cause Rodgers fumbles and dropped passes. Yes I do have wishful thinking. I do think we can get to the playoffs, but we need to get our heads out of our asses.

Jonathan Spader's picture

That's why I listed Rodgers having missed opportunities. He did fumble the ball. He overthrew a 6' 7" WR. Right side of the line struggled to protect him. Rodgers did somewhat cause dropped passes. Some were outright drops others Rodgers wasn't as accurate as we've been used to. Playoffs are still a possibility Chi lost, MN hasn't been great and neither has Detroit.

Coldworld's picture

The Detroit game was a badly played game in so many ways exacerbated by some critical early reffing blunders that put us on the back foot. Make no mistake we lost that game and likely would have done against any opponent on the night

Don’t judge a team on isolated boom and bust performances. What we now need to see is whether it was an isolated dud or an emerging pattern first emerging against Washington. Tonight will tell us a lot.

Lphill's picture

McCarthy better have this team ready to F###in play for once this season if they lose an embarrassing game to the 49 ers on Monday night football he should be fired .

Lare's picture

The over/under number for me is 12. If the Packers have a combination of penalties and turnovers that equals 12 or more they lose. If it's less than 12 they win.

Nick Perry's picture

Out running errands yesterday I was listening to some Fantasy Channel on XM-Radio. Some guy called in about whether or not to play Aaron Jones.

These 2 guys who host the show actually started to clown Mike McCarthy. They said "People outside of GB hate McCarthy just as much" and "He's dead from the shoulders up" when talking about whether MM will play Jones.

Congrats McCarthy, now EVERYBODY knows what we do. You have no idea how to use your best offensive weapons.

Lphill's picture

49 ers were flexed out of a Sunday night game next week so they are pissed and motivated to win on Monday night football being the underdog. Here we go it's gonna be a long night .

The TKstinator's picture

I think the flexing out can be called the Garoppolo Effect.

Spud Rapids's picture

This is the worst post I've ever seen....

PatrickGB's picture

David, I don’t see your prediction playing out that way. But I do see a win. And if it comes I will be happy-er. Our defense is over performing and the offense is under performing, and special teams are wacky.

CAG123's picture

I can’t be the only not excited for this game I’ll still watch because I love this team but after 5 weeks of “They’ll shake it off and bounce back” excitement I’m just drained now. The crazy thing even if it’s a close game, blowout win, or loss I wouldn’t be surprised this team has been so up and down they’re capable of all 3.

Rufus's picture

If its a close game or a loss, heads got to roll.

The TKstinator's picture

I don’t think any heads will roll in season. Maybe after, but not during.

EdsLaces's picture

Wow the dolphins ....are....a.......JOKE.

fastmoving's picture

but maybe it is just enough for the Bears.....

hodge555's picture

Bears just lost in OT to Miami

The TKstinator's picture

How on earth could Khalil allow that to happen?
Cut him.
Heads must roll.

LeotisHarris's picture

LOL! Thanks for that. Perfect!

I thought the same thing last night after the Brewers loss. Counsell should be fired! And Yelich? CUT HIM! He's paid millions of dollars to deliver a game-winning hit in that situation, and did he do it? NO! The only way the Brewers will win the World Series is if they make examples of these losers right now. Fish rot from the head, and if they don't fire everyone NOW, I am done with baseball!

Hank Aaron, now there was a ballplayer. He was the toughest man ever to play baseball. In 1962 he bit his tongue completely off in the first inning, played through the 8th swallowing the blood, then barfed up 4 pints for IV bags which he took between innings. Hit a walk-off HR in the 9th. That's when men were men, dammit!

The TKstinator's picture

So true! Men were men, and they walked uphill both ways in ten feet of snow in July.

fastmoving's picture

Just right, LeotisHarris. Sad but true……. thats how a lot of people "think" here……..

Skip greenBayless's picture

I can't think of anytime in my life where I have been less excited about a Monday Night Packer game. These games used to be special especially for GB because they were never featured much in the 70's and 80's. Now they are just a pain the ass to be honest. Nothing special at all playing on Monday Night. Nothing!! Other than Packers fans, who the hell would watch these two teams? This has the makings of another ratings disaster for the NFL. No Garapolo and an injured Rodgers on one foot. Oh boy!!

LeotisHarris's picture

Maybe pick up Elly May, and take old Duke for a walk? That might help you feel better. A swim in the Cee-ment pond couldn't hurt either.

Chin up, little buddy!

Nick Perry's picture

Sunday Night Football has replaced Monday Night Football as being the slot with the best game each week. This will probably be the first Monday Night game I watch because the games just haven't been any good and I'm doing my best not to watch anything other than the Packers.

That's getting harder and harder to do too BTW.

Coldworld's picture

Well there is always the over under on reffing blunders to look forward to.

fastmoving's picture

yeah, you as right as always, boycott going well.

we looking forward to a Packers game, that counts like every other one. you dont have to watch, maybe you can watch some fake news shows instead. that one who made for the smart. guess that would entertain you better.

In September, the top 15 TV shows were all NFL games. And on Monday Night, the New Orleans Saints and Redskins more than doubled the audience of a playoff matchup between two of baseball’s most iconic teams, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Are you talking to me fastmoving? I feel as though you are. If you are how the hell did you get boycotts, fake news and comparing baseball ratings to the NFL to what I actually said? Amazing. All I said is this Monday Night game is nothing that I can get excited about. A bad team with a no name qb vs. an unknown good or bad team with a hobbled older great qb. How is that exciting? Maybe this Monday nighter is exciting for you. I happen to disagree. Of course I'll watch it but this has the makings of a sleeper if you not not fans of SF or GB.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Yes Dobber, I thought the same thing when I wrote that. Exactly the same thing.

The TKstinator's picture

“that one who made for the smart”...?

Skip greenBayless's picture

Let him go he's on a roll.

The TKstinator's picture

Could be

Time to go solo
Rolling in my 5.0
Ragtop down so my hair can blow

Skip greenBayless's picture

Is that a Snoop or Vanilla Ice song/reference?

Rufus's picture

TK, Hell Yes

Skip greenBayless's picture

I'm old, what did I miss?

The TKstinator's picture

Vanilla, buoy!!

Skip greenBayless's picture

lol ok.

dobber's picture

" so my hair can blow"

Which one?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

If PFF's grades are suggesting that GB to date has fielded the 6th best offense and the 7th best defense, that suggests their rankings are not accurate or predictive in the short term. I think the offense could be top 5 if AR comes around, the OL heals up and stays healthy, and the rookie WRs start to gel with AR, and I think the defense could improve as young players figure out the NFL and Breeland gets more acclimated.

We play NE, the Rams, MN and Atlanta who all have good offenses. We also play SF, Miami, Seattle, ARI, Chicago, the Jets and Lions. 4 (or 5) good offenses and 6 bad to mediocre offenses. I expect the defensive ranking will overall be decent. Offensively, we play 4 bad defenses and 2 good defenses and some mediocre ones.

The TKstinator's picture

Barring further developments.

Spud Rapids's picture

I think that's what Rodgers meant where "we're close". If anything ti shows the flukey nature of the season. If those numbers pan out for the entire season the W-L column should reflect it.

What those numbers don't reflect are penalties and turnovers which I think have been the Achilles heal so for this season. That is actually encouraging because over the course of his career McCarthy teams have been near the top in protecting the football and playing clean (low penalties.)

Kevin Gibson's picture

I like the content a lot, but is anyone editing these posts?

4thand1's picture

Beating teams you're supposed to beat is not getting your season back on track. Beating a contender on the road is. It feels like the Packers are still in training camp. They'll have almost 2 weeks after tom to figure it out.

Kb999's picture

I often wondered on away games, it looks like these guys party all night and it takes them half the game to wake up.

dobber's picture

Protect home field. Steal a few on the road and you're a playoff team.

Washington handled Carolina at home yesterday. I don't think they're a joke on their turf. We'll have to see what the Lions turn out to be. I don't think they're a good team, but they beat NE at home.

Winning on the road is not a trivial thing.

croatpackfan's picture

David, that is a lot of expectations...

Lets hope many of them will be fulfilled...

stockholder's picture

1. The packers don't play a 7 front. If they do we got the wrong people. 2. A-Rod.=Hold the Ball. Again I look for the slow start. At least 1pick will go to Sherman. I really think the packers need to take offers on Arron Rodgers. Look what the Hershall Walker trade did. Just gave up picks for nothing. Well so far the packers gave up money for nothing! 3. Injuries. = MM goes slow and plays the people 5 plays and thats it. With a bye coming everything tonight will be by commmitee. 4. Celebration= ARod coming out and blasting MMs game plan again. MM gives him days off and the split keeps widening.

dobber's picture

"Well so far the packers gave up money for nothing! "

And they don't even get to play the guitars on the MTV!

The TKstinator's picture

That ain’t working
That’s the way you do it!

Coldworld's picture

Industrial Disease might be as apt

The TKstinator's picture

Let me tell ya
Them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

Spud Rapids's picture

You might as well just stop the trading Arodge posts... you've already declared the signing a failure after 5 games? come on... at least try to be objective

Holecrap's picture

Did not realize that the 9 ers were missing not just 8 players but their best 8 players tonight. The pack will not be so fortunate the next 5 games are killers.
Me thinks there will not be smiling faces come Thanksgiving time.

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"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."