In recent weeks it's evident that the focus of opposing defenses has been to stop the 49ers' running attack, which is currently second in the league. The 49ers are averaging 149 yards rushing per game, but were only able to generate 34 yards on the ground against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11.

That performance followed a mere 87 yards rushing in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks, far below the teams' season average. The dip in production could have something to do with the offensive line still suffering from injuries, with Joe Staley being out and Mike McGlinchey just coming back from injury. Tight End, George Kittle, has also been out the last two weeks, and he has a big impact not only with the passing game but in the running game, too.

Either way, teams are daring the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball. And for the most part, Jimmy and the passing offense has come through. Garoppolo has averaged nearly 330 yards passing in the last three weeks to go along with 9 total touchdowns, half of his total touchdown output for the entire season.

The 49ers were winning with their ground game and defense for the first half of the season. But just as the ground game has taken a step back, the defense has also slightly regressed. That's no knock on the defense as it is still ranked Top 2 in the league, but the unit has not been as dominant as it was in previous weeks.

With that being said, the trends suggest that Garoppolo and the 49ers' passing game will need to continue to increase their overall production. The schedule gets a lot tougher for the 49ers over the next few weeks with a historic stretch against the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints, who have a combined 24-6 record. It would not surprise to see upcoming defenses continue to force the 49ers to open up the passing game.

Garoppolo will need to continue to step up, while minimizing his mistakes at the same time. The 49ers can continue to lean on their running game and defense, but Garoppolo will be a key factor in how successful the 49ers are for the rest of the season.

With six games remaining in the regular season and a 9-1 record, it is looking like the 49ers are on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The fact that they are having to rely on Jimmy Garoppolo now to lead them to victories will only help their chances to win big games in the future.