It's been a fun week of content with Acme Packing Company, and we wrap things up with a look at more of the negative side of things. We've talked about under the radar players, why each team will win, who we want from opposing teams. Today, we each took a look at what would need to happen for our respective teams to lose.
We all want a win, and we all think the team can win for a variety of reasons, but we won't stick our head completely in the sand. Accordingly, much like our "why each team will win" posts, we're looking at offensive and defensive reasons why each team could lose. We'll start with APC.
Why the Packers will lose....
The offensive line needs to at least contain the 49ers' pass rush. If Aldon Smith and company are allowed to make a living in the Packers' offensive backfield, it will spell doom for the Packers' offense. Aaron Rodgers handles the blitz as well as any quarterback, so the 49ers will be best served bringing a rush without sending five or more players. Keeping the rush in check and keeping their hands off Rodgers so he can have time to throw will be critical for the Packers' line, and if they don't do so, the Packers will not be able to put the points on the board necessary to win the game.
This is pretty simple: the Packers will lose if they don't win the turnover battle. The Green Bay defense has been giving up massive amounts of yardage over the second half of the season, especially on the ground. If they cannot find a way to take the ball away from the 49ers' offense to both get off the field quickly and give the Packer offense opportunities to convert on a short field, it will be a very long day for Green Bay's faithful.
A big pass rush (including outside contain) will be needed to keep Colin Kaepernick uncomfortable in the pocket as well. The 49ers' QB proved in Week 1 that he could carve up the Packers through the air if the rush does not get home, and he made the Packers pay for failing to contain the edge in last year's playoff meeting. Look for the play of Mike Daniels on the line and that of the outside linebackers to factor prominently in the Packers' effectiveness on defense.
Why the 49ers will lose....
Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have been dominant when they win the turnover battle. In the last three games these two teams have played, the 49ers have dominated the turnover battle. Over the last six games, Colin Kaepernick has thrown ten touchdown passes, and only one interception. I think you know where I'm going with this. The 49ers lose if the offense does not control the ball. The Packers could shut down the run and the 49ers could still win. The Packers could focus on the pass, and the 49ers run game could potentially dominate. But, if the 49ers offense turns the ball over too much, this game could very well be lost.
The 49ers will lose if they don't get quality pressure on Aaron Rodgers. When Rodgers has been pressured in 2013, he has thrown the ball away or taken a sack a league-high 40.9 percent of the time. It's become a ridiculous BigMar cliche, but this is a game where the pass rush really is a huge deal. The 49ers need to get to Rodgers, and force him into uncomfortable situations.
The Packers are looking to bring a more balanced attack, but Rodgers is the guy who presents the greatest concern. The 49ers secondary is a bit banged up, with Carlos Rogers and Eric Wright both questionable for Sunday. The 49ers can compensate for these injuries with a stout pass rush. If the 49ers don't get some heat, they would be in trouble.
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