No. 2: Packers defense is vulnerable, particular to SF 49ers ground game
Self-inflicted wounds were influential in the SF 49ers allowing Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to dominate in Week 8.
Whether or not those things happen again for Kyle Shanahan and Co. is another X-factor, yet one figures San Francisco’s offensive possession time will go a long way to ensure Aaron Rodgers stays off the field as much as possible.
While nowhere near as poorly rated as Seattle’s defense, the Packers aren’t exactly dominating on that side of the ball entering Week 9. This unit has four defensive takeaways, which is tied for last in the league. Against the pass, the Packers are allowing 6.9 yards per play (23rd), while Green Bay’s run defense is giving up 4.7 yards per rush (22nd).
And according to Football Outsiders, the Packers defense is ranked 29th in DVOA.
Interestingly enough, Green Bay’s run defense is ranked 22nd by Football Outsiders, showing a similar kind of weakness displayed against a run-dominant Niners approach from last season’s NFC Championship game where Shanahan’s rush offense gained a whopping 285 yards and four touchdowns.
Granted, that was mostly with running back Raheem Mostert, who is still out on injured reserve with a knee injury.
But if Shanahan can get anywhere close to the production from runners Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty, San Francisco has a chance.