The 49ers host the Packers for Sunday Night Football in Week 3, and these four Green Bay players should cause concern for Kyle Shanahan and Co.
It’s understandable why Week 3 presents the toughest challenge the San Francisco 49ers have faced in 2021 to date.
This, when the 1-1 Green Bay Packers come to town for a Sunday Night Football showdown at Levi’s Stadium.
True, it was a challenge for the undefeated Niners to upend both the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles on the road. But the Packers are one of only a handful of teams expected to seriously contend for the NFC Championship this season. And even though they botched their own regular-season opener against the New Orleans Saints, the Packers’ 35-17 win last Monday night over the Lions looked far more like what fans should expect out of Green Bay this season.
San Francisco has plenty of advantageous matchups for this prime-time contest, yes. But there are also plenty of Packers players who could potentially prove problematic during the game, too.
Especially these four, whom head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. should pay close attention to during the game.
49ers Challenge No. 4: Cornerback Jaire Alexander
With EDGE Za’Darius on injured reserve with a back injury, and the Packers having just one sack this season anyway, the 49ers shouldn’t be too concerned about facing off against a pass rush on Sunday.
Still, there’s a tough challenge quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will have, and that’s targeting fourth-year pro cornerback Jaire Alexander.
The 2020 Pro Bowler is off to yet another solid start this season, having allowed just five receptions on nine targets for only 50 total yards, holding opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of just 71.5.
It’s likely Alexander tries matching up against the Niners’ top receiving option this season, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, potentially meaning Garoppolo will want to exploit any matchup he can if fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk finds himself opposite the Packers’ other starting cornerback, Kevin King, whose rough start to 2021 is almost completely in contrast to that of Alexander.
While Green Bay’s defense doesn’t figure to pose much of a challenge to San Francisco’s offense, targeting Alexander a lot might not be the 49ers’ best option.