- Patrick Willis is really good. As the MLB, it’s difficult to run plays away from him. He’s all over the place but in a role-responsible way (unlike Junior Seau years ago for SD – who apparently had zero assignment-awareness but managed to go to the Pro Bowl constantly).
- Big match-up will be Vernon Davis vs the Pack’s safeties and LBs (and hopefully Charles Woodson). Davis and Alex Smith have developed a decent rapport already and Davis is a quality athlete who can make plays. I wouldn’t be surprised if Capers has Woodson mark Davis like Woodson did against Witten and Kellen Winslow. I believe Davis is their leading receiver so it would be smart to stick Woodson on him.
- I could be misguided here, but I’m not as worried re Frank Gore as others seem to be. He’s a good back and Singletary and company like to stick with the running game (due most likely to their suspect passing game). But in the games I’ve seen, Gore tends to start fast and have a good game or start slow and vanish quickly. For some reason, maybe due to Capers’ recent statements re gearing our defense weekly to stop the run, I believe Gore may start slow and fizzle.
- McCarthy needs to be aggressive on offense. If there is a 4th and 2 or 4th and 5 even in SF territory early, McCarthy should go for it. We need to be aggressive in the early part of the game and not just settle for FGs.
- McCarthy needs to stick with running plays even if they’re not overly successful to keep the balance right. Aubrayo Franklin is a beast in the middle (with P Willis right behind him) so running Grant on the edges might be advisable in this game. But as tempting as it may be if it’s not working, McCarthy can’t abandon the run like he has before.
- Greg Jennings has to earn his new, huge paycheck and the Packers need to do a better job of putting him in positions to succeed. At this point in the season, McCarthy and staff have done a good job making it difficult for defenses to know which guy to key on: Driver or Jennings. Taking advantage of that, I think it’s time Jennings has a huge, breakout game where he reminds us all why we shelled out tons of cash for him.
- Capers needs to take his chances. Yes, there is the risk of picking the wrong time to blitz and getting burned by a smart call by SF to Gore (draw, screen, etc). But it’s worth taking the risk because blitzes will most likely yield a couple key turnovers.
- Alex Smith is no Aaron Rodgers. Make Smith pay for simply not being that good.
- Get the ball to Jermichael Finley early. Get him back in the mix and make SF remember that he’s yet another weapon they need to account for.