Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers vs Packers - Keys to Victory and Score Prediction

Matt Andruscavage
Nov 4, 2020 at 4:00 PM


Well, this is not at all what we expected. It's Week 9 and the season has been all but lost after a devastating rash of injuries and a slew of other things. The 2020 season has sure been a forgettable one. I'm writing another article this week on everything that went wrong this year, what the rest of the season may hold, and what the 49ers' possibilities for 2021 are. It's a brutal assignment to relive this season, but that is how things can go.

Back to Week 9. The Green Bay Packers are coming to town for Thursday Night Football. Both teams are injured, though you know which team is slightly more banged up. Both teams are dealing with COVID-19 issues, though everyone else from both teams tested negative.


On the injury front, nearly all of the starters for both the San Francisco offense and defense will miss the game (slight exaggeration, but not really).

It's the Nick Mullens show and we will see how he is able to fare without George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jeff Wilson Jr, Jordan Reed, Ben Garland, Kendrick Bourne, possibly Richie James, and possibly other players who were in close contact with Bourne, who tested positive for COVID-19.

For the Packers, running back Aaron Jones and tackle David Bahktiari are questionable. Running back is an issue due to A.J. Dillon testing positive for COVID-19 and then losing Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin due to being in close contact with Dillon. Dexter Williams and Tyler Ervin are the only healthy running backs for Green Bay.

Here are the keys to winning this game for the 49ers:

Where and When: Thursday, November 5 at 5:20 PM PT at Levi's Stadium

1) Run. The. Ball.


When the 49ers are successful running the ball, the offense is effective. When it's not, well, that's been the story during the four losses the 49ers have sustained. The healthy running backs for San Francisco are JaMycal Hasty, Jerick McKinnon, and the latest practice squad elevation, Austin Walter. For the 49ers to have a chance in this game, they must run the ball against a Packers run defense that got rolled last week by Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings.

Getting Brandon Aiyuk some touches would be helpful as well. Having success on the ground is very possible for the 49ers, but there will need to be some creativity and the offensive line has to be much better than its lackluster performance against Seattle.

2) Take some chances


Nick Mullens has been in this situation before and has the ability to play well under the bright lights. Green Bay will be looking to rebound after its upset loss from a few days ago, but that defense is not much better, if at all, than it was last season.

Despite most of the best skill players being out, San Francisco needs to take some chances and not simply try to hold the ball all game, which is also important. Getting a few reverses, deep attempts, and other gadget plays should be attempted to keep the Packers off balance.

I have no doubt Coach Shanahan will have a few of these ready to go, but it will come down to execution.

This also goes for the defense. Dialing up different than usual blitz packages to rattle Aaron Rodgers will be important. It will come down to whether or not the defense can achieve that pressure.


3) Keep Rodgers on the bench


The offense will need to take some chances, but if the 49ers are to come away victorious, it will be because Aaron Rodgers sat on the bench a lot and the game was played on San Francisco's terms.

Mullens will have to complete short, quick passes early and often. The rushing attack has to gain around five yards per carry. If the 49ers are able to get a handful of long drives together and get into the end zone, they will have a chance in this game.

If it is an all-out shootout, forget it. Keeping Mullens on the field and Rodgers on the bench is the formula.

Prediction


This is going to be a difficult game to win. Everything will have to fall right for the 49ers, something we have rarely seen, if at all, this season. If everything goes right, the 49ers win by a field goal at the end.

The likelihood of Aaron Rodgers picking apart the defense and the Packers taking some revenge on the extremely shorthanded 49ers is very high. The 49ers may get off to an early lead and things could go right during a portion of the first half, but something will go wrong. Aaron Rodgers will take advantage and the Packers will build a lead that will be too difficult for Mullens to come back from.

Packers 31, 49ers 16
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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