The 49ers are lucky they get to play the Packers on Saturday night and not the Seahawks or the Redskins. Why? Let me list the reasons.
1. The Seahawks and the Redskins have two of the best running backs in the NFL. The 49ers run defense has been mediocre to bad recently. They do not want to face Marshawn Lynch or Alfred Morris.
They want to face the Packers subpar running backs, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant. Those two pose no threat to the 49ers run defense.
2. The Packers defense can’t stop the run. They have one good player in the middle of their defensive line – B.J. Raji. He’s one of the biggest, strongest players in the league, but he’ll be facing Mike Iupati. Iupati is bigger and stronger than Raji. The 49ers should be able to run at will right down the middle of the Packers defense.
3. Aaron Rodgers can move but he is not fast. Pocket containment is not as big an issue with the Packers as it is against Seattle and Washington, so Niners defensive front can run more pass rush stunts (DT & DE twists) vs. the Packers in obvious passing situations without fear of the DT getting outflanked on containment by a scrambling QB.
Niners don’t have to worry about the zone read option package with Rodgers so their coverages won’t have to be regulated by the fear of option responsibilities (who has the pitch).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Packers will be an easy matchup for the Niners. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best passers in the NFL and on top of that he’s passing to the best receiving corps in the league.
They’re going to be tough for the Niners to beat, but not as tough as the Seahawks or Redskins would have been.