Larrivee: Packers face 49ers defense that has weakened vs. run

CREATED Jan 11, 2013

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GREEN BAY - When the Green Bay Packers lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, 30-22, they only gained 45 yards on the ground.

Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, believes both teams are different entering their rematch on Saturday night in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, particularly when it comes to when the Packers run the ball.

"They didn't have an identity in Week 1," Larrivee said about the Packers' running game on "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"That was a much different Packers team out there."

Just as much, it was a much stronger 49ers run defense that week. 

In four of the last five games, the 49ers' fourth-ranked run defense has given up at least 85 yards on the ground.  In those games, they went 2-2.

"Their run defense has fallen off since Justin Smith has been out the last couple of games.  He's going to try to play this week," explained Larrivee.

However, Larrivee says that in two of those games, they've faced the kind of power running back that has been the only type of back to give their defense problems.

"The backs that have hurt the 49ers, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Stephen Jackson, they are power backs.  The Packers don't have a power back of that ilk on their roster."

The closest thing the Packers have to such a back is James Starks, and though he is not as dangerous as the aforementioned Pro Bowlers, he could provide the greatest danger on the ground to San Francisco.

"He's taller than DuJuan Harris.  If you're talking bigger backs, he's bigger."

Larrivee also tells us that the Packers don't need to run the ball a lot, especially if they get a lot of yards per carry when they choose to run.

"It's not so much the number of yards, but the production you get when you run the football," said Larrivee.

A good day for the Packers would be 100, 110 yards."