Key Matchups: Week 12 The West Coast Chonicles

3 key matchups in Santa Clara will help the Packers avoid becoming the latest casulties of the Santa Clarita Diet. 

After one failed trip out West, the Packers are on take two, as they come off of their bye week looking for different results as they make their return trip to California looking for a victory over the 9-1 San Fancisco 49ers.  The Packers have had a chance to reset, recharge, rest, and come up with a specialized, in-depth gameplan to hopefully knock off the top team in the NFC.  The 49ers are not at full strength as many key members such as George Kittle and Dee Ford are battling nagging injuries.  In a game that is pretty evenly matched key injuries could end up playing a factor in the outcome of the contest.

In this matchup of NFC powers, I see the outcome of the game being determined by three key matchups: 

1. Front Seven's vs. Offensive Lines:

This is the most important matchup of the game, will the Packers offensive line be able to hold up against the 49ers pass rush (minus Dee Ford) and will the Packers front seven, with a rejuvenated Kenny Clark, be able to do just enough to impede the 49ers rushing attack and shift the offensive load to Jimmy G's shoulders?  The injury to Dee Ford will help the Packers offensive line immensely, as they can shift their focus to Nick Bosa and DeForest Buckner.   It is imperative that the line dominates the point of attack so they can use Kyle Shanahan's zone running scheme against him by unleashing Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.  

The indicator of the offensive lines' effectiveness will be measured by the amount of touches the Packers running back tandem has on Sunday Night.  If it is close to 30, the Packers will win, if it is closer to 20, the Packers will be up against it.  Conversely, the Packers defensive front needs to do just enough to force the 49ers into some second and third and longs so that they can unleash Kenny Clark and the Smith's into the A-gap.  If Pettine can unleash some blitzes and give Jimmy G happy feet, the Packers defense will come up with multiple turnovers.  Multiple turnovers will certainly give the Packers a very good chance to come away with a victory.            

2. Special Teams

My hunch is that there will be a part of the game where both offenses will stall.  This is when it is paramount for the Packers special teams unit to get their heads out of their asses and make plays.  They will need to rely on JK Scott to unleash some high, booming punts to pin the Niners deep in their own territory and eliminate the chance for any returns.  In reality, the Packers special teams unit will have to make one big play on a kick return, and one big play on a punt return to save the Packers from a momentum altering play. (Avoiding the Miles Sanders return). The Packers special teams unit has to avoid giving up a big return which leads to an easy seven points.  

3. Davante Adams vs. Richard Sherman

This matchup goes well beyond the cheap shots that Sherman has given Adams over the years.  In order for the Packers to have a balanced attack and avoid San Fran loading the box, Davante is going to have to win a few one on one battles against Sherman for some big plays.  If Adams makes a few big plays against Sherman, that will allow Lazard and others to have easier opportunities to make plays and allow LaFleur to call any play he wants at any time he wants.

Prediction:

The 49ers are the (slightly) better team of the two but key injuries coupled with more preparation time and a fresher, and healthier roster for the Packers is a deciding factor in the game.  I think the Packers force two turnovers which lead to points and win the time of possession battle.  I see the Packers coming away with a 24-21 upset win setting up for a trap game next week against the Giants.    

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

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Comments (14)

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Lare's picture

November 23, 2019 at 04:27 pm

Agree on the importance of controlling the LoS, not so sure on the Adams/Sherman rivalry, and I've given up hope of ever seeing above-average play by the Packers Special Teams in my lifetime.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 23, 2019 at 05:52 pm

This is going to be a very tough game. No way around it.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 23, 2019 at 10:16 pm

" I see the Packers coming away with a 24-21 upset win setting up for a trap game next week against the Giants."

If the Packers at this stage of the season are susceptible to a trap game then this team is NOT up to a deep playoff run. It will be a one and done and be like many other seasons since the 2010-11 SB team.

A win Sunday in SF cannot be erased by a loss to the Giants due to thinking the path to the SB had been won in SF. The Giants game is a security win this team will need to have in the win column.

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DavidMichalski's picture

November 23, 2019 at 10:20 pm

Can’t just enjoy the 8-2 season?

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 24, 2019 at 12:08 am

Why do you think I'm not?

You say that to me as though I should accept that they're 8-2 and whatever happens next doesn't matter.

I'm happy as happy can be that they're 8-2 and I'll be happier if they DON'T take the attitude of just being happy with 8-2 as you suggest to me and fall into trap games.

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DavidMichalski's picture

November 24, 2019 at 09:56 am

Wow from all your negative commentary this is certainly a surprise. A welcomed one I’ll admit.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 24, 2019 at 10:26 am

You're trying to back away from a bias that you have about me based on previous seasons thinking. You have failed to recognize that I have stated often that this season is the most optimistic I've been in years and have been posting as such all season.

You like other writers and commenters here, all too often, write in the manner that unless one agrees with the content or context of the article you've written we are wrong,pessimistic and not Packer fans.

Even if I'm deemed to be pessimistic and told to just enjoy the season, I feel like the best fan because I don't ignore the negative and want/expect more than the assumed privilege of simply enjoying the season that your ilk always fall back on in disagreement.

Perhaps if you actually read my comments this season you would have had no need to fall back on the patented response that started this in the first place.

I understand writers for this team wish to convey good times always but there isn't and won't be and your idea of ' just enjoy the season ' is best left to those who don't care about which team wins but just watch games for game.

Your suggested thinking of ' just enjoy the season' because of the 8-2 record says ' If the Packers lose every week for the season, just remember they were 8-2 and that should be enough to sustain your fandom is by far the most asinine way to be a fan of any team.

Remember while watching today....there 8-2 and win or lose matters not anymore since your bar has been met.

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DavidMichalski's picture

November 24, 2019 at 12:05 pm

If you’ve actually read my articles I tell it like it is. After two straight losing seasons it would really be nice to just enjoy the run for what it is and hold off the super bowl talk until January. I honestly don’t think this is a super bowl team but it’s still a great building block of a season if they went 11-5 or even perhaps 12-4 and lost on divisional weekend. You can’t realistically hold them to a super bowl standard after going 6-9-1 and 7-9 with a dumpster fire of a roster. The fact that this team is on track to win a Super Bowl in the next 2-3 years should make us all happy.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 24, 2019 at 02:53 pm

I'm not holding them to a SB standard, but I'm certainly not sitting on a 8-2 record and dismissing any SB possibilities as you are regardless of the chances. The change in this team is worthy of the talk and hope of it happening which hasn't been an optimism in reality especially the last two seasons.
Again, I'm happy that the bar you set has been reached and perhaps now you should cease to write about the team going forward because they reached that bar. What more could you expect or want, right?

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DavidMichalski's picture

November 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm

You’re a fool if you think this team is going to go 9-7 at this point. You have NYG, Washington, and Chicago. I expect 3 wins there, the game at MetLife could get interesting but I still at least expect 3 more wins at minimum. Easily could go 12-4.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 24, 2019 at 08:41 am

.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 24, 2019 at 08:41 am

Love this

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Gort's picture

November 24, 2019 at 09:29 am

Lets go 1-0 this week before we even say the "G" word.

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Lphill's picture

November 24, 2019 at 08:52 am

I don’t think San Fran is the better team , look at the softer schedule they played . I give the edge to the Packers because of Rodgers.

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