49ers: Previewing Week 12 from a Green Bay Packers perspective

49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

We sat down with Dairyland Express’ Paul Bretl to gain insight on the San Francisco 49ers/Green Bay Packers Week 12 meeting from the enemy’s perspective.

The San Francisco 49ers are set to square off with the Green Bay Packers this Sunday in what should be one of the most anticipated games of the NFL season to this point.

The 49ers enter this week 9-1 fresh off a 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in a game that was frankly closer than it ever should have been. And while the team has just one loss, they’ve started to show cracks in recent weeks.

The once-dominant defense has had its issues and the running game that once led the offense has been nearly nonexistent. This is still a great time — one of the best in the NFL — but they’re not playing at the level they could be now.

Part of that likely has something to do with the numerous injuries the team has suffered. For this upcoming game alone, the 49ers should be without left tackle Joe Staley, defensive end Dee Ford, and running back Matt Breida with George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, and Deebo Samuel all listed as questionable.

That’s a whos-who of playmakers the 49ers might be forced to play without.

The Packers, meanwhile, will enter this game with an 8-2 record fresh off a bye week. With two weeks rest, Green Bay will come into this matchup healthier and more rested than their adversaries.

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While they handled the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago, they are just three weeks removed from a major letdown in a 26-11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Like the 49ers, the Packers are excellent, but they’ve proven that they can be beaten.

We should be in store for a thrilling game between two of the NFC’s best teams. It will be Aaron Rodgers vs. Jimmy Garoppolo. Kyle Shanahan vs. Matt LaFleur. And it will be a battle in the trenches that could ultimately determine a winner.

To gain a better perspective of what the 49ers are up against we teamed up with the incredible Paul Bretl of Dairyland Express. Paul was gracious enough to sit down and give us his thoughts on the upcoming matchup and let us know just how Packers fans are feeling this week.

Here are the results of our discussion.

1. Who are some Packers players who are playing well, but don’t necessarily receive the media attention they deserve? Basically, who should 49ers fans do some research on before Sunday night’s game?

"“I would say the two players that Niners fans may not be as familiar with are both on the offensive side of the ball. Wide receiver Allen Lazard and left guard Elgton Jenkins. Coming into the season the big question that most Packer fans had was, who would be wide receiver two behind Davante Adams? The favorites were either Geronimo Allison or Marquez Valdes-Scantling but both have been inconsistent. Instead, it has been Lazard, the second-year undrafted receiver from Iowa State. Over the last five games, he’s caught 18 of 24 passes for 220 yards with a touchdown, and he leads the team in receptions and targets during that span. Not to mention that he has the trust of Aaron Rodgers.Elgton Jenkins doesn’t get much love outside of Wisconsin given his position, but he should be in consideration for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Since taking over full-time in week three, he hasn’t allowed a single sack or quarterback hit and of all the guards this season that have taken at least 500 snaps, he is the only one to do that. Jenkins is also a very good run blocker that works well in Matt LaFleur’s outside zone running scheme. To put it simply, he’s been fantastic.”"

2. The 49ers defense has been dominant all year but has shown cracks in recent weeks. How do you see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense finding success this week?

"“Unlike in previous years, the running game plays a much more important role in the success of this Packers’ offense, so as they’ve done for the most part this season, I expect a heavy dose of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Both backs are averaging over 4.0 yards per carry this season and once the running game is established, the Packers have done a nice job of utilizing play action to open up the passing game. A successful rushing attack will also help control the clock, negate the 49ers’ pass rush, and take advantage of a weak spot in that San Francisco defense that has allowed an average of 145 rushing yards over the last three games.”"

3. Who is the biggest X-factor for the Packers in this game?

"“I think I’m going to have to go back to Aaron Jones. In most games this season he has been the catalyst behind the success of this Packers’ offense. On the ground he is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns. Also in the passing game he was Rodgers favorite target when Adams was out, which includes a 159 yard performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. He will lineup in the backfield, out wide or in the slot and he has turned into a real playmaker for this team.”"

4. What positional matchup worries you the most in this game?

"“The 49ers’ run game against the Packers’ run defense. This has been perhaps the weakest part of the entire Packers team this season. So far they are giving up nearly 127 rushing yards per game which ranks 25th in the NFL. This season in six out of 10 games they’ve given up at least 100 yards on the ground and in five of those games, they’ve allowed over 140. As you are all well aware, the Niners running game has been very good for the most part, so a big key to this game for Green Bay will be getting an early lead, forcing San Francisco to throw the ball more which will allow Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith more opportunities to get after Jimmy Garoppolo.”"

5. The Packers come into this game on two weeks rest while the 49ers are banged up, but will have the luxury of playing at home. What is your final prediction for this one?

"“My expectation is for the Green Bay Packers to win. I think that Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams will have success on the ground and Aaron Rodgers will be Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile defensively I expect The Smiths to take advantage of Justin Skule and Mike McGlinchey, which will force Garopplo to make a mistake or two and as they have done all season, the Packers defense will capitalize. I also think the Niners’ injuries and the fact that the Packers are coming off of their bye will be big factors in determining the outcome of the game.Packers 27, 49ers 23”"

The two teams will meet in a massive Sunday night primetime matchup with NFC supremacy on the line. For the 49ers, this would undoubtedly be their biggest win of the season proving that they can hang with the NFL’s best.

Let’s hope that they could emerge victorious in front of their home crowd in Levi’s Stadium.

Next. 49ers: 5 players who could make the Pro Bowl this season. dark

Thanks again to Paul for joining us and be sure to check out all of his amazing work over at DairylandExpress.com!