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Four Downs

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Four Downs: Which 49ers Player Must Step up in Primetime?

The San Francisco 49ers are heading into the bright lights of primetime for their Week 6 matchup against the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football." Our 49ers.com writers are breaking down four pressing topics as the 49ers head to Lambeau Field.

Here's a look at the 49ers Week 6 matchup in our weekly "Four Downs" series.

First Down: Which member of the 49ers needs to step up?

Joe Fann: Marquise Goodwin

The 49ers offense will get arguably its top weapon back on Monday against the Packers. Goodwin is yet to make it through a full game this season, but he was a full participant in practice all week. San Francisco is desperate to get Goodwin cooking again like he was at the end of last season. He's the 49ers most explosive receiver and will give C.J. Beathard a target that can stretch the defense. You've heard plenty of times that no 49ers receiver has topped 61 yards in a game yet this season. Goodwin can change that.

Keiana Martin: Alfred Morris

Morris’ 91 scrimmage yards on 21 touches last week against the Arizona Cardinals was his highest output since becoming a member of the 49ers. Morris took a bulk of the workload after Matt Breida left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. With Breida being a game-time decision, the 49ers offense may have to rely heavily on Morris. The Packers are currently allowing 4.2 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the 49ers are averaging 136.2 rushing yards per game, the sixth-best total in the league. Morris and the 49ers rushing success will be crucial in controlling time of possession and helping keep Aaron Rodgers off the field on Monday night.

Second Down: Who is the 49ers X-factor?

Joe Fann: Whoever starts opposite Richard Sherman

Whether it's Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Greg Mabin or a rotation of all three, whoever ends up starting across Sherman will be a busy man against the Packers. I expect Aaron Rodgers to pick his spots when targeting Sherman, which means we're likely to see a continued trend of quarterbacks attacking the opposite side of San Francisco's defense. Will the rest of San Francisco's corners bar Sherman be up to the task?

Keiana Martin: Richard Sherman

The stats show that Sherman has been rock solid in San Francisco’s secondary. He has allowed just one reception through four games so far this season and teams have opted to shy away from targeting his side of the field. With Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison’s (hamstring/concussion) uncertain to play heading into Monday night, Sherman could see more targets in his direction as he's likely to line up against Green Bay's top receiver Davante Adams.

Third Down: The 49ers can win if...

Joe Fann: They win the turnover battle

This one is fairly straight forward after the 49ers lost the turnover battle 5-0 last week against the Arizona Cardinals. San Francisco has just three takeaways through five games and owns a -8 turnover differential. Pulling off the upset in Green Bay won't be possible if the 49ers aren't in the black in this category.

Keiana Martin: The defensive line keeps Rodgers uncomfortable.

Aaron Rodgers excels in avoiding pressure and extending plays. However, the Packers quarterback is battling through a knee injury that has kept him limited in practice leading up to Monday’s contest. The 49ers have a prime opportunity to take advantage of the quarterback's limited mobility. Constant pressure and keeping Rodgers off balance is key for the 49ers if they hope to limit those explosive playmaking abilities we've seen time and time again from the future Hall of Fame QB.

Fourth Down: Bold Prediction

Joe Fann: Adrian Colbert gets his first career interception

I don't have any hard hitting analysis for you other than just a gut feeling that someone in the 49ers secondary will get a pick Monday night. I'll go with Colbert, who will be opportunistic and intercept a pass that bounces off the hands of a Packers receiver.

Keiana Martin: 49ers win the turnover battle

Turnovers have been a point of emphasis for both the 49ers and Packers. Aaron Rodgers was guilty of two of Green Bay’s three fumbles last week against the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, there are a handful of plays that C.J. Beathard and the 49ers offense wish they could have back following a painful five-turnover performance last week against the Cardinals. I anticipate Rodgers’ aforementioned injury playing into the 49ers favor, causing untimely throws and turnovers.

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