What Could’ve Been…(7-1??)

Review~ that’s a tough game to get out of your mind…well it at least sticks with me in the case in the sense that Do Super Bowl winning (key word there) teams have a showing like that at all during their championship season?  I’ve gone back in years past, but it doesn’t matter…the answer is Of course they have, however the only one that sticks to me is the 2003 New England Patriots.  Their week 1 loss in Buffalo (31-0) was the same caliber of loss.  The Patriots ended up 14-2 and in week 17 they beat that same Buffalo team 31-0…

This is all looking for reason the Packers can still win the Super Bowl and the item I continue to get hung up on is this team (Rodgers too) continuously needs to have an elite defense, which they were in route to having last year, and they do not.  It’s obvious, but the Packers were tasked with stopping Dalvin Cook and making Cousins beat you…instead, Cook had a career game, to the likes of which he’ll never have again.  Is that scheme?  Personnel?  Both?  I’m going with scheme.  Pettine has openly admitted to “not caring” about stopping the run because this is “a passing league, and you must stop the pass.”  I’m old-school, run the ball and stop the run is the shortest path to victory in football.

On top of that, as soon as the Packers’ offense got away from the run game (not sure whom to blame, QB or HC, or both) it lost all rhythm and suffered greatly.  This Packers’ team is built to play off one another and if the offense is rolling then the defense can get in a groove, but it’s the offense’s responsibility (fair or not, it’s how its constructed) to initiate and dictate the mood, the defense plays off that and creates opportunities from there.  Also, in the regular season, offenses can put such pressure on the opposing QB to play perfect and that compounds upon itself (see Minnesota last week, although I’ll contest the Packers’ offense did that to themselves). 

Preview~ the 49ers enter this game completely maimed with injuries.  Not one player that touched the ball in the NFC title game will be active tonight.  The main issue?  Kyle Shanahan.  The guy plays chess vs. our defense and since the 2016 NFC title game (played in Jan ’17) has shredded the Packers’ D.  Even when he joined SF as head coach and traveled to Lambeau on a Monday Night in October of 2018, Shanahan had C.J. Beathard with the following stat line: 16/23; 245 yards; 2 TD; 1 INT; 115.3 rating.   Tonight’s starter, Nick Mullens, is far better than Beathard and could easily present a problem again for Green Bay’s defense if they can get the ground game going.  Mullens follows the playbook and executes, which when done in (any offense, especially) Shanahan’s offense could be lethal.

GB128.9 (9)265.7 (9)394.6 (9)31.3 (4)119.0 (15)227.6 (13)346.6 (11)26.7 (20)
SF127.0 (11)251.6 (17)378.6 (12)26.0 (15)105.6 (10)209.0 (4)314.6 (6)21.6 (10)

Checking the matchup chart above, it seems to be even across the ball.  The advantage that I see sides with Green Bay for 2 reasons: health; quarterback. 

Win the turnover battle, hell get greedy and let’s get 2 or 3 from their quandary of backups on offense.   Should the Packers open the game hot, like they have the previous 7, look for Shanahan to continue with the ground game until he absolutely can’t…

I may be picking this game with my heart, but what the hell…

Packers 27
49ers 21

Season: 5-2
Overall: 60-33

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