The San Francisco 49ers’ season is just around the corner! It’s time for us to look at each opponent and provide a reason for and against the 49ers beating them. We’ve included a poll for the community to vote on whether they expect a win or a loss and will see what kind of prediction this provides at the end.
Week 1 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2 @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 5 vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 6 @ Los Angeles Rams
Week 7 @ Washington
Week 8 vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 9 @ Arizona Cardinals
Week 10 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 11 vs. Arizona Cardinals
We are out of the Week 12 gauntlet of divisional foes with the 49ers playing an old rival from the 90s. Green Bay. Many of you may consider Green Bay the most hated team, more than the Cowboys (yes, they do exist). You can read our opponent preview to see what the Packers have been up to, but the condensed version is: The Packers have a new coach, and if Aaron Rodgers can get along with him is the big question.
Reason for: A poor man’s Kyle Shanahan offense getting installed
First the fad was the read option/pistol offense, now the new fad sweeping the league is the Kyle Shanahan “Mike Shanahan 2.0” offense. While much of it is all the younger Shanahan’s own, it’s based on a lot of the concepts of his dad. At least that’s the perception I get when it’s easy to bring his dad in to help tutor Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Los Angeles Rams jumped in on this by hiring Sean McVay, the Denver Broncos took 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, and now the Packers hire Matt LaFleur who worked under Kyle Shanahan with the Atlanta Falcons. LaFleur moved up to offensive coordinator with the Rams (where it’s hard to credit that offense to him with McVay running around) and then to the Tennessee Titans where he actually got to call plays. The Titans is interesting because under LaFleur they had the 25th-ranked offense in the NFL for 2018. Far from productive.
That might sound like growing pains under what is considered one of the most difficult offenses to learn and that’s a fair conclusion. Just one thing: in 2017 (one year earlier) when they started using the offense, the 49ers were ranked 20th. Without LaFleur, the Titans were ranked 19th. And we all know the issues the 49ers dealt with in 2017.
Late in the season, maybe everyone has the concepts and terminology down, but there should be enough struggles that Shanahan can help scheme that defense to tear apart the Packers infancy in this offense. We also don’t know how Aaron Rodgers works with a new playbook. He’s been with the same one for essentially his entire career with the exception of his rookie season. How Rodgers can adjust when he’s not just executing but also taking in an entirely new system that doesn’t have any of Mike McCarthy’s fingerprints is something that will be interesting.
The 49ers can certainly take advantage of this and make life hell for the Packers if they are having problems executing or taking this offense to the next level. Plus, that isn’t Shanahan or McVay calling plays on the other sideline.
Reason against: Aaron Rodgers
Do you think their quarterback cares about any of that? We’ve seen Aaron Rodgers take mediocre talent and turn it into superstars. While I do subscribe to the fact that the Packers’ Super Bowl team may have had a lot more to do with the talent around Rodgers than Rodgers himself (flame me all you want), there’s no denying he’s one of the better quarterbacks in the league and when he’s on—no one can touch him.
It’s not going to matter if Rodgers bothers listening to playcalls. If there’s anyone that can improvise, it’s him, and if this newfangled offense they have doesn’t work, Rodgers will just say, “Give me the [site-decorum] ball, I’m going to go take care of this.” The Packers offensive line has some holes, but Rodgers gets the ball out so quick it doesn’t matter.
If the Packers beat the 49ers it’s all because of their quarterback.
What will happen in Week 12 vs. Green Bay?
This poll is closed