Packers Periscope: Week 12 vs 49ers

Will San Francisco be the toughest opponent Green Bay faces during the regular season? Probably. Last week, the NFL flexed the game into primetime due to the anticipation of this matchup. The winner of this game will grab hold of the one seed in the NFC with five games left in the season.

As much as this game will be the Packers vs the 49ers, it will also be protégé vs mentor. On Sunday, Matt LaFleur will face the coach he once was an understudy for in Kyle Shanahan. In just three years, Shanahan has built an impressive culture in San Francisco consisting of an innovative offense and dominant defense. So far, LaFleur is off to a good start as the head coach in Green Bay, but that comes as no surprise to Shanahan.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Shanahan, per the Packers’ official website. “He’s a good coach. He knows what he’s doing. It seems like he’s with some good people, some good coaches, and a great organization. He has a really good quarterback.”

Why yes, yes he does. Shanahan saw that first-hand last season when Aaron Rodgers threw for 425 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-30 win in week six. A win is a win, but Green Bay needed a game-winning field goal from Mason Crosby to put away a 1-4 49ers team led by quarterback CJ Beathard.

Over the last 23 years, the Packers are 11-2 against San Francisco during the regular season. However, this might be the toughest 49ers team over that span. Instead of Beathard, Green Bay will have to find a way to stop promising young quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be joined by All-Pro tight end George Kittle, two-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and a talented San Francisco backfield. The 49ers have the fifth overall offense in 2019.

That said, it is their defense that is their strong suit. The NFL’s second-ranked defense is allowing a mere 253 yards per game with only a 143 of those yards coming through passing the ball. Rodgers could have issues moving the ball downfield against this defensive front, which is tied for the league-lead in sacks. Second-overall pick Nick Bosa has been one of their key contributors totaling seven sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble. Bosa is likely well on his way to winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

It may be a long night for Rodgers and the Packers’ receivers, however, running the ball can help them secure a win. With everything the San Francisco does well defensively, they are 20th in the league in run defense and have allowed opposing teams to rush for at least 100 yards in eight games this year. Green Bay needs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to continue the tears they’ve been on for the 2019 season.

However, one concern is that the Packers’ defense has been worse at stopping the run than their upcoming opponent. They possess the 25th ranked run defense and are giving up almost five yards per carry (4.8). Mike Pettine’s group has done a nice job bending but not breaking through 10 games, but the flood gates could open at any time. What will we make of this defense then?

The defense has to do a convincing job of slowing down a competent offense, and going up against an easily rattled Garoppolo may do the trick.




Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (4)

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PatrickGB's picture

November 22, 2019 at 04:58 pm

If Kittle plays, my guess is that we lose. He is the embodiment of what our defense struggles against. Our best hope is a wildly successful run game, lots of turnovers and Rodgers playing lights out. :-(
Yet it IS possible.

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carlos's picture

November 23, 2019 at 10:05 am

I think he’ll play and will have a good game and won’t appear hurt at all.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 22, 2019 at 07:27 pm

Packers vs 49ers is a reminder that in pro sports, teams only are a coach and personal man away from success. (And a owner away from total ruin....:-)

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November 23, 2019 at 02:35 am

This is EXACTLY the game GB uses what was working weeks 5-8 when Admas was out. A HEAVY dose of Jones and Willimas in the running AND passing game. MLF and especially Rodgers need to be patient and stick with it even if it's not working early. My hope obviously is the Packers offense starts FAST like they have so many times this season and get that crowd quieted down.

I can't remember exactly where I heard it but I thought it was an interesting take...It was said to take a look at Rodgers jersey at the end of the first half and you'll be able to get a good idea of how the offense is doing. If Rodgers jersey is full of grass stains after 2 quarters chances are the Packers aren't running the ball or using the short passing game to Jones and Williams. Hey, it made a lot of sense to me...


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