As of this writing, the Week 9 edition of Thursday Night Football is still on, as scheduled, despite positive COVID-19 tests on both teams. How or why the league still plans to proceed with the game as scheduled despite the readily-apparent ease of pushing back a few days is personally beyond my comprehension, but because the game is still happening, we are still going to analyze it.
Here’s what you should be looking out for as the San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers this evening.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Nov. 5 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California)
TV: FOX/NFLN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
When the Packers have the ball
The Packers are coming into this game shorthanded. Rookie running back A.J. Dillon tested positive for COVID-19, while Jamaal Williams was deemed a high-risk close contact and will miss the game as well. Considering Williams had been leading the backfield while Dillon spelled him on occasion during the absence of Aaron Jones (who is listed as questionable Thursday with the calf injury that has held him out the past two weeks), that’s not great. It reduces the Green Bay backfield to just Tyler Ervin and practice-squad member Dexter Williams, who is expected to be activated for the game if Jones is unable to play.
But the strength of this year’s 49ers defense is against the run, where they rank seventh in DVOA, per Football Outsiders. They’re a less-solid 17th against the pass, and it would make sense for the Packers to put the game in the hands of Aaron Rodgers with so much of their backfield up in the air. At this point, the Packers’ passing game almost exclusively consists of Rodgers throwing the ball to Davante Adams over and over again, but defenses find themselves unable to stop it. As we wrote in our detailed Rodgers-Adams breakdown last week: