By HCR Staff | Jan. 18, 2020
Yes, the San Francisco 49ers thrashed the Green Bay Packers in their regular season matchup, but that game is largely irrelevant. There’s a different motivation now, and that makes all the difference.
Here’s what we’ll be watching.
The patience level of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. The Packers play best when they are running the ball; running back Aaron Jones is their offensive MVP in our view. The Packers don’t like playing from behind, but if they get down 10-0, we’ll be interested to see if LaFleur can stay patient with the running game. If the Packers end this game with 40 or more pass attempts, that sounds like a losing formula.
Will 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh double team wide receiver Davante Adams on key downs? The failure to do this by Seattle Seahawks DC Ken Norton led to the Seahawks’ loss last week at Green Bay. Adams is the player quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks for in critical downs. Saleh, however, can be slow to adjust at times, and keep in mind, he cut his NFL teeth on Pete Carroll’s Seattle system as well. It’s a system that emphasizes fast and simpler schemes over one of constant adjustment. On 3rd and 5 plus, we’ll be watching where LaFleur positions Adams, and we’ll be waiting for Saleh’s response.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the occasional bad read. Garoppolo threw 13 interceptions this year, and more than a few were the results of bad reads. He threw one last week too, but we think the pick was more the result of a really good play and deep drop by talented Vikings linebacker Mychal Kendricks. In this game, on the 3rd and 5 plus, Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to rush three and play coverage because he has some talent on the backend. The Packers have talent at safety in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, and cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are very competitive. The Packers secondary hit a rough patch in the middle of the year, but overall, they’ve had a good season.