3 areas 49ers must improve on from Packers game to win NFC Championship

San Francisco 49ers Christian McCaffrey (23)
San Francisco 49ers Christian McCaffrey (23) / Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin /
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49ers defense must stop the run

The 49ers had a stout run defense all throughout the 2023 season. They did not allow a 100-yard rusher even once in the regular season. In addition, the Niners defense allowed only 89.7 rushing yards per game in 2023, which was third-best in the league.

However, in their divisional-round game, Packers running back Aaron Jones seemed to be having his way against San Francisco.

Jones rushed for 108 yards in the game, averaging 6 yards per carry. He even had a 53-yard run in which he caught the defense very much out of sorts.

To beat the Lions on Sunday, the 49ers will have to be more aggressive in stopping the run. The Lions have two excellent running backs: David Montgomery, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in the regular season, and dynamic rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, who rushed for 945 yards.

It will come down to interior defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave to ensure that Montgomery and Gibbs don't get anything easy when rushing up the middle, while defensive end Chase Young must be vastly better at setting edges than he was against Green Bay.