No. 3: Stopping the run
While the offenses overall are stellar, each team features a fearsome running game. The major trouble is that all three teams get it done in a different way.
For the Packers, its via third-year running back Aaron Jones, who has been a touchdown machine in 2019, already racking up 11 on the ground and three through the air. The former UTEP Miner has run for 583 yards on 134 carries (4.4 YPC), 33 first downs and 13 runs of 10 yards or more.
The major thing to worry about with Jones is his yards after contact, where he has picked up 396 of his 583 yards, per PFF. This is a problem because the 49ers haven’t been the surest of tacklers (just a 51.4 grade per PFF), so they’ll need to pay attention to this on Sunday.
Lamar Jackson is the main focus of the running game for the Ravens, as he’s on pace to break the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback, with 788 yards through 10 games. He’s also one of the best graded runners in the league, according to PFF, with a 86.6 rushing grade (his passing grade is 84.0 for comparison).
Jackson isn’t the only cog in the league’s best rushing attack, however, as running back Mark Ingram is also having a good year. In his first year in Baltimore, the former Saint has already posted 667 yards on 136 carries (4.9 YPC), and boasts a 72.0 rushing grade from PFF.
Overall, the Ravens have already gained 2,038 yards on 358 carries, good for 5.7 yards per carry, and 203.8 yards per game. They’ve also scored 16 rushing touchdowns, the most in the NFL. And their rushing DVOA sits at 23.9 percent, which is 9.6 percent higher than Arizona, which is second in the league.
By comparison, the Saints rushing attack looks wildly less formidable, but a lot of that has to do with star running back Alvin Kamara missing two games in late October/early November with an injury. He’s only starting to come back to form, something the 49ers and other teams can’t be pleased about.
They are still a top-10 rushing offense in terms of efficiency, with the sixth best rushing DVOA at 3.9 percent, and a team PFF grade of 78.5, good for 10th in the NFL so far this season. So even if the raw numbers don’t look at flashy as the Packers or Ravens (1,075 yards on 251 carries, good for 4.3 yards per carry and 107.5 yards per game), the Saints are still plenty capable.