17 Oct 5 Bold Predictions That’ll Surely Come True
2-3 on the season, and a seemingly endless number of questions continuously rising throughout the 49ers. This is just a one sentence summary of the current state of the team. After a devastating loss to the Miami Dolphins, this upcoming game against the Los Angeles Rams feels like the last chance the 49ers have at making the playoffs in some fashion.
The team has looked so-so on defense, but downright awful on offense. They continue to fail to move the ball, as bad QB and OL play has plagued this team early on.
With a primetime matchup against the Rams, the pressure is on in Santa Clara to keep playoff hopes alive as the 49ers begin their grueling 7-week stretch against some of the toughest teams in the NFL.
I recently preview the 49ers Sunday night matchup with my cohost Zach Hernandez on the latest episode of The Red & Gold Standard Podcast! Check it out below!
In any event, let’s make some bold predictions. I currently stand at 3/25 on my predictions, so let’s see how well this week will go:
1. Javon Kinlaw Will Get His First Career Sack
It’s been a solid stretch of football for Kinlaw, as his development as an all-around defensive lineman is starting to take place. However, he has yet to record his first sack. Although it has been an arduous season for the defensive line, Kinlaw continues to get pressures, as according to PFF, he’s sitting at 9 total. Not a bad number for a rookie who’s missing help on that DL rotation (injuries to Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, etc.) The Rams feature the #7 ranked offensive line via Football Outsiders (FO), so it’ll be a tough go for the banged up defensive front. If anyone is going to step up, I feel it’ll finally be Kinlaw’s time to shine under the national spotlight.
2. The 49ers Will Pass for Less Than 150 yards
Alright, so unfortunately not everything can be too positive. Coming into this game, the Rams feature a defense that is ranked 8th in DVOA according to FO. The unit, lead by star DL Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey, have been playing lights out. Donald, who currently stands at 7.5 sacks, is on pace to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record (22.5). The 49ers, who are coming into this game fully-healthy on offense, have not proven they can move the ball efficiently and effectively against average competition (i.e. vs. Eagles, vs. Dolphins). As I said earlier, inconsistent QB play and atrocious OL play has arguably cost this team 2 wins. Going up against a solid Rams team, I just cannot see Garoppolo and the boys moving the ball effectively. It will be a rough night, and I feel this team is just not ready to take on the firepower the Rams showcase on defense.
3. The Rams Will Score 40 Points
Not sure how bold this is, but after the Dolphins scored 43 against the 49ers, it feels all-too likely this outcome is possible. With Sean McVay and the Rams offense operating and full power, the defense may not be ready to handle the vast weapons the offense offers. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee; the weapons are endless for the Rams. Although the defense is likely getting back corner back Emmanuel Moseley, I still feel this will not be enough for an offense that is ranked #4 in the entire league. If the 49ers can roll out an average pass-rush, maybe it’ll be a rough day for Rams QB Jared Goff. Otherwise, this game has all the makings of a blowout.
4. Aaron Donald Will Break the Single Game Sack Record
Donald, who is coming off of a 4-sack performance against the Washington Football Team, is on pace for a historic season. Going up against an offensive line that has been the 31st best OL via FO, Donald should be jumping for joy at the guys he will be lining up against. Whether it be LG Laken Tomlinson (PFF pass block grade 66.3) or RT Mike McGlinchey (PFF: 55.6) it is shaping up to be a great day for Donald. This 49ers OL has been playing terrible, as the team has not been getting any push in the run game, or giving the QB enough team to even drop back. Shanahan has not openly said the line has struggled, although he has acknowledged that the group has had signs of miscommunication and failing to pick up the proper assignment. If the group does not get it together, it seems possible that Donald can and will break Derrick Thomas’ single-game sack record (7.0).
5. This Game Will Be Decided by A Field Goal
Alright look, I know this game has all the makings of being a blowout, but part of me does not see this happening. At 2-3. The 49ers cannot afford to lose this game. They are the previous NFC Champions and the Super Bowl runner-up. With an all-star coaching staff and a team that is getting healthier week by week, they have the will and desire to not get embarrassed under the bright lights of primetime. Shanahan and Co. have proven they can take on adversity and overcome the injury bug, and for this upcoming game, I think he’ll have the team playing hard. The team talked about the big “Revenge Tour” and how bad they want to make up for the disappointing Super Bowl loss, so let’s see if they can get the tour truly kicked off after this game. I think it’ll be close, and if everything goes as planned, this game will be decided by a field goal in the waning seconds of the game.