No. 1: Arik Armstead vs. Byron Bell
He certainly hasn’t lived up to the expectation level most first-round NFL Draft picks have. But fourth-year defensive tackle Arik Armstead is quietly putting together a decent season in what has otherwise been a forgettable campaign from San Francisco’s defense.
The stats don’t necessarily show it. Armstead has just 18 tackles and one sack in 2018, certainly not justifying the Niners’ pick of him at No. 17 overall.
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But those lackluster numbers could be in for a nice little jump in Week 6, particularly if Armstead’s pass-rushing abilities from the interior overwork Packers right guard Byron Bell.
Bell, who has held onto the starting job this season, still has to be considered Green Bay’s weakest link along its offensive line. One would figure the Packers’ center, Corey Linsley, and left guard Lane Taylor double team fellow defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in pass protection, knowing full well he’s the 49ers’ top interior threat. And on the right, Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga will stay occupied with second-year pro Solomon Thomas.
So there’s a nice little one-on-one matchup between Armstead and Bell, isn’t there?
Aaron Rodgers has historically been excellent navigating pressure within the pocket and extending plays using his legs. But he’s also hampered with a knee injury, meaning that mobility won’t be as big an X-factor.
Perfect opportunity for Armstead to make a serious impact.
The 49ers and Packers kick off on Monday, Oct. 15 at 8:15 p.m. ET from Lambeau Field in Green Bay.