The Bills spent the whole year planning to defeat the Chiefs. They would? And will we see Trey Lance in Green Bay?
The NFL’s knockouts can be very sleepy, but never fear! The squad round will definitely be better.
Three of the next four games are rematches of the regular season’s stellar matches. The Bengals-Titans are the only new tie-up, matching two rather unexpected teams that made it to the knockout stages. As it is, the storylines built into each game are many and interesting. I picked four of my favorite stories for the division round, which will determine what I watch this weekend.
One last gasp for Trey Lance Time
In the 2012 NFC split, the San Francisco 49ers played against the Green Bay Packers. It was a 2-seeded and 3-seeded match at Candlestick Park — the last post-season game the storied stadium will see before the 49ers are scheduled to move to Levi’s Stadium next year. after. There, second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick dashed 181 yards – a one-game record for a quarterback – and took in a total of four touchdowns in a 45-31 win over Aaron Rodgers’ Packers. That game was the eighth start of Kaepernick’s career, but it was billed as a true national debut for Kaepernick as a playoff quarterback.
That won’t happen again. But nearly 10 years later, the big, big, heavily armed quarterback that is the new dual threat of the Niners could once again become an issue in the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers.
Waiting for Trey Lance to take over the 49ers’ starting job is “they will, won’t they” this season. Injured starting winger Jimmy Garoppolo was hit twice, leading to two starts for Lance in which he looked like a talented but still developing rookie passing the ball. Once Garoppolo was healthy, the Niners’ attack was better with him at the helm—but Garoppolo wasn’t really healthy. He has been playing with a bone in his throwing thumb since Week 18 and played the second half of last week’s Cowboys game with a sprained shoulder. In that second half, Garoppolo completed five of 11 39-yard passes and an interception nearly put the Cowboys back in the game.
While Garoppolo is expected to compete, he will be under 100 percent. However, unlike the laid-back domed setting he enjoyed on Sunday, Garoppolo will be tasked with gripping the ball and delivering shots to his shoulder in one-degree heat, which creates offers a big unknown to predict his playing quality — Garoppolo has never played in the sub-freezing temperatures in the NFL.
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Garoppolo doesn’t have to play well for the 49ers to win the game. From Week 10 (when the Niners started to heavily include Deebo Samuel in the running game) through the end of the regular season, San Francisco’s rushed offense ranked fifth in the league in terms of EPA per rush; they also ran above 57% of the original game time, which is the second-highest number in the league. During that same time period, the Packers allowed 0.016 EPA per run—that’s the sixth-worst in the league.
The way the 49ers like to play is the way the Packers can be beaten. A great passer, Garoppolo doesn’t help the running game at all, and benefits from it a lot in the passing action game — but if Garoppolo’s injury leaves him inaccurate and ineffective, As a result, the 49ers have one option to boost their running game: Lance. This rookie allows Kyle Shanahan to add wrinkles to his foul in the form of read option tampering, engineered midfield runs and scrambles, all of which help an attack. play “11 out of 11” football and put even more stress on the hasty defence. And Green Bay doesn’t have a solid answer there: Only the Washington Soccer Team has given up more pitches into opposing midfield pairs this year than the Packers.
Even if Garoppolo is healthy and efficient, the Niners would be wise to use Lance in critical pitch shortage situations. Shanahan certainly thought so: He used Lance on a third and second goal in the first half against the Packers in Week 3 on a quarterback run designed with ease against the line. Packers player unprepared.
Lance won’t make his playoff debut like Kaepernick on Saturday, but don’t be surprised if this fusion of elements in this Packers-49ers game prompts San Francisco to provide him with at least a few moments. Watch as the team empties the pool of tricks, gadgets, and last resort to defeat the stellar Packers