With Bye Looming, Pack Has a Chance to Get Their House in Order.

So here come the largely luckless 49ers, ravaged by injuries, in what appears to be the easiest game left on the Pack's schedule. If the Packers don't bounce back in a big way from the debacle in Detroit, it will be hard to take them seriously as they get set to tackle the meat of their schedule, following the bye.

As nearly double digit favorites, the Pack won't prove a lot by soundly taking care of the Niners, but there is a lot that can be accomplished to give the team a modicum of momentum as they get set to the a week off and hopefully get healthier.

Let's start with the offense, where the majority of the frustration of the team's slow start falls. Aaron Rodgers has not played close to his usual standard and the hope is that after a week off, his knee will be markedly better. When he aggravated it on the first series last week, it impacted his performance. But with or without the injury, the ball security issues need to go away. So do the penalties and the need to waste timeouts with the shot clock running down.

It's time to see this offense get off to a quick start, put points on the board early and get their opponent on their heels. At this point, we don't know whether he'll get Geronimo Allison or Randall Cobb back. Both are listed as questionable as they battle back from hamstring injuries. My hunch is they rest Cobb so he can take advantage of the bye and come back close to 100% in two weeks. Hopefully Allison will be ready to come back, otherwise we'll get another chance to see how the rookies respond on a big stage.

The 49ers have really struggled to get a pass rush going and only have three takeaways all season, so this should be an opportunity for the Pack's offense to get rolling. If the passing game clicks early, it will open up things for the running game. Is this the week that Aaron Jones gets the lion's share of the carries? We all hope so, but I'd be surprised. McCarthy's being stubborn on this front. Jones' day will come, but I don't think he'll get that opportunity on Monday night--I hope I'm wrong.

On to the defense, where we hope we'll get rookie Jaire Alexander back from the groin injury. The unit is otherwise pretty healthy and should have the advantage over an offense that's been ravaged by injury. Former Hawkeye CJ Beathard has taken over for Jimmy Garropolo and is posting some pretty prolific numbers so far. But he struggles when pressured and may not have WR Pierre Garcon and RB Matt Breida; the latter was called doubtful by coach Kyle Shanahan earlier in the week, but now has a chance to play. Their top threat in the passing game, another former Iowa standout George Kittle, ice dealing with a knee injury but should be okay to start.

Looking to see this unit keep their hands off the receivers, so the flags remain in the officials' pockets. Looking for success on third downs--something they've been good at this season and looking for a solid pass rush: the primary missing element of this unit, though they've succeeded against the inexperienced QBs they've faced so far this season.

And then there's special teams. The microscope will be on Mason Crosby all night, but Ill be surprised if we don't see the usual Crosby on Monday night. If he struggles again, things could get a little interesting during bye week.

When this game ends, the Packers will have already played half of their home games and will get set to play four of the next five on the road, three in prime time, beginning with a late afternoon start at the unbeaten Rams. This one is an absolute must. The Packers need to make a statement to exorcise the demons from that Motown meltdown. I'm guessing we see it.

Packers 27 49ers 16

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