In the series of articles, I have written analysis in the run up to the Wild Card game from the San Francisco 49ers‘ perspective as they take on the Green Bay Packers. I have analyzed this game on a number of fronts from the 49ers’ angle. One of the angles was the importance of the 49ers’ defense to do well to contain the Packers’ rushing attack and their ability on offense to overpower and run the ball effectively.
With that said, the team that wins the game will be the team that is best able to run the football against the opposing defense on Sunday afternoon. There are a number of reasons why winning the rushing battle will surely almost guarantee victory in this game. First and foremost, the weather may mean that running the football will take on an even greater importance.
As has been well publicized, it will be freezing cold on Sunday afternoon/evening in Green Bay and as a result, this will mean that the weather will definitely factor into the way both teams play on offense. Therefore by being able to run the ball effectively, either the 49ers and or Packers offense will be able to create situations where they face third-and-short as opposed to third-and-longs which would mean airing the ball out and exposing yourself to having the respective quarterback’s passes caught in the air and being tossed around by the wind.
Elements aside, the importance of winning the rushing battle also extends to controlling the game and winning the battle of possession. The ability to limit the number of possessions of the opposition in a playoff game is still of paramount importance given that it creates and forces the other team to feel pressured to take more risks when they have the ball on offense. Therefore winning the rushing battle goes a long way towards winning the psychological part of a playoff game and the game itself.
All signs point to the 49ers being the team better positioned to win the game given that they are the better team at running the football and are better at stopping the opposition from being able to run the ball. Even though the 49ers have such a distinct advantage, the Packers now have a legitimate running back in Eddie Lacy to give them a chance to be able to run the ball better than they have in recent meetings. As the old saying goes, that’s why they play the game, and we will see who runs the ball the best on Sunday afternoon.