The 49ers are heading home after a rough Week 1 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings. Even though they did ultimately lose, there were lots of opportunities for the 49ers to potentially pull the upset. However, the difference in talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball was apparent and Minnesota was able to hang on to their lead throughout the game.
San Francisco is now looking to put that loss behind them and move on to a home matchup against the Detroit Lions. The Lions are also coming off a loss, but they were absolutely embarrassed by the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
This can go one of two ways for the 49ers: 1) This is how the team will be and the 49ers are in for a cakewalk game on Sunday or 2) The Lions are going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder and this game can be very close.
Most likely, this game will be a hybrid of the two scenarios and San Francisco should not overlook their opponent. For the 49ers to avoid falling victim to a trap game, here are a couple things they should accomplish to get a victory against the Lions.
The Lions surrendered 169 yards and two touchdowns on the ground against the Jets. This is something the 49ers can exploit. The rush offense was not able to get any rhythm going against the Vikings, but this is a different scenario. San Francisco should hopefully not be trailing the entire game, which led to them throwing more often than running.
Alfred Morris is trying to get over a goalline fumble, which took a touchdown off the board in Minnesota. To complement the between the tackle runs of Morris, Matt Breida can help the rush attack with outside and off-tackle runs. Overall, the 49ers should establish the running game and stick to it.
You Can’t Stop Him, You Can Only Hope to Contain Him!
Dan Patrick’s words do not ring any truer when you apply them to Stafford. Against the Jets, he was characteristically not himself by throwing four interceptions.
In 122 career games, Stafford has thrown for three or more interceptions in only 12 games. Stafford is a gunslinger, but he is also careful and systematic with his attack on a secondary. The 49ers need to get early pressure on him in order to prevent him from getting comfortable in the pocket and picking apart the defense.
With starting lineman, T.J. Lang not playing on Sunday, this can be a weakness on the offensive line to exploit for the 49ers pass rush.
Red Zone Blues
San Francisco scored one touchdown on four red zone opportunities. The Morris fumble ended one drive and the other two failed conversions resulted in Robbie Gould field goals.
Although it’s great to get some point instead of none, if those drives were completed with touchdowns we may not be talking about the 49ers being 0-1 right now. Against the Lions, the 49ers need to make sure to convert red zone opportunities with touchdowns.
Using the play-action can help open flank routes with Kyle Juszczyk or Breida strolling in for scores. They need to have a higher conversion rate than 25% in the red zone in order to rack up wins instead of losses.
This Week 2 game is a matchup between 0-1 teams. The 49ers and Lions are hoping to get back to .500 with a victory in Levi’s Stadium. Jimmy Garoppolo will look to rebound after his three-interception game and lead the offense to the team’s first victory of 2018.
He will have to deal with uncertainty at the right guard position and not having one of his key targets to throw to, Marquise Goodwin, who is out with a thigh injury. Look for rookie, Dante Pettis, to make his mark in the game and also Pierre Garcon to have a big game.
Should be a good game overall and if the 49ers will be able to cruise to an early lead and gain a victory. Detroit will play better than they did against the Jets, but they will leave Santa Clara without the win.
Game Facts to Keep in Mind
- Matthew Stafford is 1-2 against the 49ers in his career. His stat line is a different story: 76/119 (completions/attempts), 824 yards, 5 touchdowns, and one interception but the 49ers have sacked him nine times.
- Counting last week’s game, Jimmy Garoppolo has a completion percentage of 63.6% in the month of September.
- Last week, the Lions rushed for 39 yards total against the Jets. During the past 5 years, the 49ers are 22-17 when they held their opponent under 100 yards rushing.