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The Shanaplan: How the 49ers can take advantage of the Packers biggest weakness

Green Bay’s struggled to stop the run during the second half of the season

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

We predicted the 49ers would attack cornerback Trevon Diggs during last week's show when they were on offense and attempt to get as many 1-on-1’s with left guard Connor Williams defensively.

Each of those happened and were critical reasons why the Niners came out of Sunday’s game victorious.

During today’s show, we try to find the weakness of the Packers. Here’s what Akash thinks:

“I think Bill Belichick said something along the lines of, ‘It comes down to finding the opponent's weakness, smashing the button, and going after that weakness, while trying to hide your weakness.’

The Packers' run defense is just pathetic. They are 27th in defensively in rushing DVOA. They’re 27th in rushing EPA per play allowed. They’re 32nd in rushing success rate. They’re 32nd in explosive run plays they’ve allowed.

This is all in the latter half of the season. They’re bottom-five in all of these categories. It’s a clear problem and I think the 49ers are going to go after it this weekend.”

Against the Packers in Week 3, the 49ers' offensive line didn’t get any interior movement against Green Bay’s defensive tackles. Because of that, their second-level defenders ran freely and met Trey Sermon at the line of scrimmage.

Raheem Mostert or Elijah Mitchell weren’t gaining yards with that type of blocking.

Under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are averaging 195.3 rushing yards per game. Everyone remembers the NFC Championship where Mostert ran wild, and the team had 285 rushing yards. That wasn’t an outlier.

Against the Vikings, the game before San Francisco ran for 186 yards. In the Super Bowl against the Chiefs, the team had 141 yards — some would argue they would have had 200 if they ran it more. Finally, the 49ers ran for 169 yards on the ground last week.

Since Week 11, only three teams have more carries that have gone for at least 15 or more yards than the 49ers. They’ve figured out creative ways to get Deebo Samuel to the edge, while Elijah Mitchell’s improved vision has led to chunk plays up the middle:

Mitchell had 85 yards after contact against the Cowboys. However, the Packers have the second-fewest missed tackles in the NFL this season.

I’d expect Kyle Shanahan to take a similar approach that the Browns did on Christmas against Green Bay. Cleveland, who runs a Shanahan-style offense, ran for 219 yards and averaged 8.8 yards per attempt. Had it not been for Baker Mayfield’s four interceptions, they win, in Lambeau, by double-digits.

You can listen to the full episode below:

Other topics include:

  • How DeMeco Ryans put pass rushers in a good position to succeed against Dallas
  • One DL that isn’t Nick Bosa that deserves more love
  • Why Troy Aikman is wrong about the 49ers defense
  • Looking to this week, how worried should we be about Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder injury (23:24)
  • Who is the Mark on Green Bay
  • Score predictions