Game Info: Sunday, November 24th at 7:20PM CST on NBC: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Odds (via Oddshark): 49ers –3; over/under 47.5
49ers Record: 9-1; Last week: Won vs Arizona Cardinals 36-26
Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan (19-23, 3rd NFL Season as Head Coach; 0-1 vs Packers)
All-Time Series: Packers lead 36-30-1 (4-3 in postseason)
Injury Report: OUT – DE Dee Ford (hamstring), LT Joe Staley (finger); Questionable – TE George Kittle (knee/ankle), WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs); Doubtful – RB Matt Breida (ankle), K Robbie Gould (right quadricep)
San Francisco 49ers Expected Lineup:
|OFFENSE||DEFENSE (4-3 base alignment)|
|QB||10||Jimmy Garoppolo||LDE||97||Nick Bosa|
|RB||26||Tevin Coleman||LDT||93||DJ Jones|
|RB2||31||Raheem Mostert||RDT||99||DeForest Buckner|
|FB||44||Kyle Juszczyk||RDE||91||Arik Armstead
|WR1||17||Emmanuel Sanders||SAM||51||Azeez Al-Shaair
|WR2||19||Deebo Samuel||MIKE||54||Fred Warner
|WR3||11||Marquise Goodwin||WILL||57||Dre Greenlaw
|TE:||85||George Kittle||LCB||25||Richard Sherman|
|TE:||82||Ross Dwelley||FS||20||Jimmie Ward
|LT||67||Justin Skule||SS||29||Jaquiski Tartt
|LG||75||Laken Tomlinson||RCB||23||Ahkello Witherspoon
|C||58||Weston Richburg||Nickelback||24||K’Waun Williams
|RG||68||Mike Person||K||5||Chase McLaughlin|
|RT||69||Mike McGlinchey||P||6||Mitch Wishnowsky|
Fresh off a needed bye week, the Packers fly into Santa Clara for a Sunday Night showdown against a dynamic 49ers squad that currently sits atop the NFC with a 9-1 record. Green Bay is the first test for the 49ers in their gauntlet schedule to end the season in which the teams they face have a collective 41-19 record. Plus, the only team they play with a losing record, the Atlanta Falcons, is currently one of the hottest teams over the past couple of weeks.
Green Bay will need to play a near perfect on Sunday even if San Francisco comes into the prime time tilt with a number of key players either hobbling or missing in action. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has done a tremendous job turning the 49ers around since inheriting a 2-14 team in 2017 and his close relationship with Matt LaFleur from their time together in Washington and Atlanta will be another story line heading into Sunday night.
The outcome of Sunday night’s game will come down to how well the Green Bay prepared over their bye week and hopefully flying into the Bay area on Saturday instead of Friday will help avoid another California dud. Here are some things to key on Sunday night:
An Immediate Run Defense Improvement
The 49ers enter Sunday’s tilt second in the NFL in points per game (29.5) and rushing yards (149.0) and third in rushing touchdowns (13; also tied with Green Bay). Not ideal for a Packers defense whose major flaw this season has been stopping the run and has given up an average of 126.9 yards per game (25th in the NFL). Over the bye week head coach Matt LaFleur made an emphasis on self-scouting and it will be very interesting to see what changes are made to help reduce the leaks and most importantly who will step up. Safety Ibraheim Campbell will be a player that could get the call to help fill the hole as hybrid linebacker and lead the cause with his sure tackling abilities.
Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. form a highly talented backfield stable and fullback Kyle Juszczyk, a three-time Pro Bowler, is arguably the best at his position in all of the NFL. There aren’t many rosters that can claim two stalwart running backs who both start on fantasy football teams across the world with two others who also tend to find themselves on fantasy football benches. Luckily for the Packers, Breida is doubtful to play, however, whoever is carrying the rock in the 49ers run machine must be tackled early before reaching the next level.
While over the last three weeks the production has dipped from their rushing attack while averaging only 2.9 yards per carry, the Packers can’t expect to win this game if they let them get back on track, especially with tight-end George Kittle hindered by injury and LT Joe Staley out. With Kittle’s presence on the field the Packers’ defense must make the right decisions with their eyes and not be fooled by the 49ers pre-snap stunt movements and lose track of the big tight end on play-action and in the middle of the field by being too aggressive trying to stop the run game.
Put the Ghosts in Jimmy Garoppolo’s Head
When a QB’s blindside protection is shaky it typically leads to speeding up the internal clock in one’s head. With LT Joe Staley likely OUT for the game and perennial Pro-Bowl Edge rushers Za’darius Smith and Preston Smith applying pressure it will be even more paramount for the Packers run defense to take a major step forward after the bye week and force Garoppolo and his unheralded receiving corps into 2nd and 3rd down and longs.
Garoppolo has been known as a roller coaster quarterback who follows up low points (fifth-highest interception rate in the NFL, seven fumbles) with high points (120 passer rating on series following an interception). While only 20 games into his career as a starter there is plenty he has yet to see as QB1. One area of needed improvement is going against the blitz. This season while being blitzed Garoppolo has compiled a passer rating of 85.3 which is twenty points lower than when facing a four-man rush (105.6) and seven out of his ten interceptions have been on blitzing downs.
Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is sure to have some new dialed in looks to show and with a full complement of his defensive players at his disposal expect the unexpected. A Kevin King sack or a Blake Martinez interception could be an unlikely turning point in this contest. Mistakes that Garoppolo and his 49ers team escaped from against teams like Arizona (twice) and Washington will now be much more likely to become severe consequences one the Packers’ future Hall of Fame quarterback gets the ball back in his hands.
Bottom line is the Packers need to put Jimmy down and keep him down.
A major theme of this season by new head coach Matt LaFleur has been taking each week at a time. Don’t dwell on the past, and don’t look ahead as the NFL is a very humbling profession. The locker room has been a tight group even while this team continues to evaluate themselves every week to figure out who they are. This is a monumental game for the Packers and while it isn’t termed a must-win, it is indeed very crucial for the potential in hosting a playoff game in January, restoring a one game lead in the NFC North and providing a huge boost down the stretch with very winnable games on the horizon.
Nothing matters except what the scoreboard says when the clock strikes 0:00. Time to forget an Owens catch (Rice fumbled!), that Kaepernick was the Packers’ achilles heel earlier this decade and go out onto Levi’s Stadium, punch a hobbling 49ers team in the mouth and show the nation that this is a new Packers’ team and they are for real.
Packers 31, 49ers 23
Rodgers – 19/31 278 yards, 2 touchdowns
Adams – 6 receptions, 109 yards
Jones – 18 carries, 84 yards
Mercedes Lewis – 2 receptions, 24 yards, 1 touchdown (first as a Packer)
Savage – 1 interception
Monday, October 10, 1996: Packers 23, 49ers 20: Lambeau Field
In one of the most exhilarating games in the history of Lambeau Field, the Packers (5-1) came back from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat the 49ers (4-1) in overtime on a 53-yard field goal by Chris Jacke. The teams would meet again later in the season at Lambeau Field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, which also ended with a Packers win.