Packers offense must help defense against the 49ers run game
The best run defense for the Green Bay Packers wears No. 12. Well, and No. 17. When the 49ers steamrolled the Packers in the NFC Championship two playoffs ago, they didn’t just run it effectively; they stopped the Green Bay offense enough to keep the running game intact and a worn-out Packers defense provided no answers as the game wore on. Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and this Packers offense must start fast and force the 49ers to play more than just a run-heavy, ball-control style of offense to protect the defense against getting gashed.
Before we get to the offensive part of it, let’s start here: this run defense isn’t good. They’re 32nd in DVOA against the run. That’s … very bad. But, they haven’t lost a game this season because they couldn’t slow down an opposing ground game. There were a handful of games where the run defense struggled, namely against the Ravens and Browns, but that stemmed mostly from shoddy tackling, and the Packers offense gave the defense a big enough cushion for it not to matter in the outcome of the game.
Sure, they got lucky against the Ravens when a two-point conversion could have sunk them, but the point remains.
If the 49ers can be dialing up exotic runs on 2nd-and-12 to move the sticks, any defense would be in trouble. If Kyle Shanahan has to really have faith in his ground attack to do that, namely because Rodgers and Co. staked the Packers to a lead, trusting the run game becomes difficult.