NFL playoffs: This 49ers defensive lineman could be the difference against Packers

49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead could be the difference against the Packers in Saturday's divisional-round game of the 2024 playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead (91)
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead (91) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

12-5. 42. 49ers -9.5. 49. Saturday, Jan. 20. Packers-49ers opening. 9-8. Fox. 8 p.m. ET

The San Francisco 49ers enter Saturday's divisional-round playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers getting healthier on both sides of the ball.

This includes defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

It is no secret that the Niners have missed having Armstead on defense. He missed the final five games of the year with knee and foot issues, and San Francisco's run defense suffered greatly as a result. The team allowed over 200 rushing yards to the Arizona Cardinals, one of the worst teams in the league, and that same defense also struggled mightily as a whole against quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

The 49ers know how important it is to stop the run, especially in the playoffs.

Just take EDGE Nick Bosa's word for it:

That is how teams win in the postseason. If you run the ball well and prevent the other team from doing the same, you have a pretty good chance of being successful.

One would think the 49ers have a fairly good chance to run the ball well in this game. They have the best running back in the game in Christian McCaffrey and the best offensive lineman in the game with Trent Williams.

On the defensive side, it is not as clear whether they will be able to stop running back Aaron Jones. Getting Armstead back should be a big boost. Plus, they are going against a Packers defense that, despite looking solid against the Cowboys, has looked very shaky at times this season.

If San Francisco can stop the Packers' rushing efforts, it could disrupt their entire offensive game plan. The Packers like to run the ball and then run play-action passes off of that. But if the 49ers can stifle Green Bay's rushing attack, that could force the Packers to alter their game plan and drop back to pass with quarterback Jordan Love.

As Bosa said, the 49ers need to run the ball well and stop the run on defense if they want to enjoy success.

Getting Arik Armstead back could make all the difference in allowing the 49ers to limit Jones and the Packers' rushing attack.

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