The San Francisco 49ers visit the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 6, and Niner Noise breaks down five key matchups to watch during this prime-time game.
If you were to place an educated guess, you probably wouldn’t bank on the San Francisco 49ers pulling off the upset over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 6 on Monday Night Football.
Stranger things have happened, though. Case in point, the Buffalo Bills pulled off a 27-6 road beatdown over the Minnesota Vikings back in Week 3. And the Vikings were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders this year.
OK, enough with the cliches and “you never know” talk.
If the Niners are going to pull off the win in Week 6, they’ll have to win out in a number of key matchups throughout the game. A big part of the contest will be limiting Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who remains the No. 1 focal point behind everything Green Bay does. There’s no real easy answer to that problem, particularly for a San Francisco defense yet to find any sort of consistency or rhythm over the first five weeks of 2018.
Still, the 49ers can win out in other key areas. Let’s focus on those for a bit, as we look at five key matchups from the Niners’ vantage point in this prime-time showdown.
No. 5: Alfred Morris vs. Packers Run Defense
Want to keep the ball out of Rodgers’ hands? Don’t let him on the field.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan would be wise to employ a methodical, ball-possession offense in Week 6, relying less on quarterback C.J. Beathard and more on the ground game. But with No. 1 running back Matt Breida (ankle) likely out, the Niners will have to rely heavily on 29-year-old veteran Alfred Morris.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Over his career, Morris has averaged an impressive 6.6 yards per carry against Green Bay.
Also working into San Francisco’s favor is the fact the Packers run defense is allowing an average of 4.2 yards per carry this deep into the season — 20th best out of all 32 teams.
Putting the ball into Morris’ hands should help chew up the clock, preventing Rodgers from taking the field and removing the pressure Beathard has on his shoulders going up against a future Hall of Famer.