Packers-49ers could turn on Christian McCaffrey vs. a vulnerable run defense-ZoomTech News

San Francisco 49ers All-Professional operating again Christian McCaffrey was within the MVP dialog this season and has been an issue for the league all 12 months.

On Saturday when the NFC’s No. 1 seed hosts the upstart Packers (8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app), he seemingly can be a giant drawback for Inexperienced Bay defensive coordinator Joe Barry, whose unit allowed 128 speeding yards a sport through the common season, No. 28 within the NFL. 

The league chief in speeding yards (1,459) and scrimmage yards (2,023) through the common season, McCaffrey has not performed since struggling a gentle calf pressure on Dec. 31 in opposition to the Washington Commanders. He is now rested and has been a full participant in observe this week.

McCaffrey mentioned it will be enterprise as normal for the 12-5 Niners come Saturday evening. 

“I really feel juice on this locker room each week,” he instructed reporters. “Clearly, with the playoffs this issues. I feel guys are clearly extraordinarily anxious to get on the market on the sphere and play. They’re excited, however that is what is so cool about this workforce: Whether or not it is Week 4 or Week 10 or the divisional spherical, I really like that this workforce is able to go.”  

San Francisco offensive line coach/run sport coordinator Chris Foerster mentioned McCaffrey’s work ethic matches his expertise, making him a sport wrecker each time he steps on the sphere.

“He is in that group with the elite guys,” Foerster mentioned. “Like I’ve mentioned prior to now, working with a Payton Manning or working with a Jonathan Ogden or Randell McDaniel — you’re employed with these guys which might be Corridor of Fame sort gamers, they put together like no one else does. 

“They’re nearly loopy about their preparation. They’re by no means going to let up. They depart no stone unturned so far as sport planning, their work or their preparation. And Christian’s in that group of elite gamers.” 

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned McCaffrey is primed to get again to his ankle-breaking methods.

“He is equipped and able to go,” Shanahan instructed reporters this week. “Identical method he was final 12 months. In all probability the identical method he was in his playoff sport when he was 5 years outdated, or a scrimmage that week.

“Christian is all the time the identical. He is all the time ready for that second. He is been ready for this second for some time.”

McCaffrey recurrently created explosive performs for San Francisco’s offense, main the NFL with 38 runs of 10-plus yards. The 49ers completed No. 3 within the league in scoring, averaging 29 factors a sport.

“There’s no less than 4 guys over there that may get yards after contact,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur mentioned about San Francisco’s offense. “That is why I feel it is so crucial that you need to swarm as a protection. You have to have a number of our bodies in place to make tackles. You actually need to gang deal with these guys.” 

McCaffrey is San Francisco’s go-to participant within the crimson zone. He had 75 red-zone touches through the common season, 3 times as many as No. 2 Deebo Samuel, and scored 18 touchdowns from contained in the 20-yard line. Total, McCaffrey completed tied for a league-high 21 touchdowns through the common season, simply two wanting the franchise report held by Jerry Rice.

Cannot-lose weekend: 49ers favorites vs. Packers in NFC Divisional Spherical

Can't-lose weekend: 49ers favorites vs. Packers in NFC Divisional Round

The 49ers offense completed with a 51.8% success fee within the crimson zone through the common season, tops within the NFL. Inexperienced Bay’s protection allowed red-zone factors 50.1% of the time, No. 9 within the league. Within the Packers’ victory over the Cowboys final week, Dallas was 4-of-5 (80%) within the crimson zone. 

Groups have tried to stack the field to try to cease McCaffrey. In line with Subsequent Gen Stats, he confronted a light-weight field on solely 19.5% of his carries this season, the bottom fee within the NFL. However, clearly, he continues to have success.

And McCaffrey has been profitable within the postseason, posting 4 video games with no less than 50 scrimmage yards and a landing.

Together with McCaffrey, the 49ers even have one other key participant again totally wholesome in left deal with Trent Williams, who has been coping with a lingering groin pressure. That makes their operating sport work even higher.

Per Subsequent Gen Stats, the 49ers run to the left facet almost 60% of the time when Williams is on the sphere, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. 

On Saturday evening, that is the place the sport might be received and misplaced.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, overlaying the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Observe him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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