10 Oct Week 5 Preview – Miami Dolphins
We are a quarter of the way through the 2020 season, and the 49ers are sitting at .500 and two games back from the Seattle Seahawks in the toughest division in the league. It’s not time to panic, but the Niners will be looking to get back on track in week 5. Several key players will return to the lineup, which should inject some much needed oomph.
Last week the Dolphins defense held Seattle to just 17 points for 3.5 quarters, and the offense produced 23 points and was not the blowout pundits predicted. And we cheered hard for them last week.
Amazingly week 5 is the first time the 49ers face a team with even a single win. So far the defense has acquitted itself well, even without Bosa, Thomas, Sherman, Greenlaw, Moseley and Witherspoon, but will face an elite receiver in DeVante Parker and Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging the rock. There’s a chance Witherspoon will play, if not we’ll probably see Ken Webster opposite a resurgent Jason Verrett. Webster played 8 games last year for the Dolphins. Speaking of familiar faces, running back Matt Breida will be lining up behind Fitzmagic, along with Myles Gaskin.
With the confirmation that Jimmy Garoppolo will be starting, the increased role for Brandon Aiyuk, the possibility of Deebo back fully (illness permitting) and Kittle a full go again, the YAC Bros will be in full effect and aiming to get the offense back to dominance.
Matchups to watch for:
Battle in the trenches The 49ers O-line struggled last week, both to give Nick Mullens time in the passing game and to create lanes in the run game. Jimmy’s lightning release should help, but as a large number of passes come off of play action, it’ll be important to at least dedicate some plays to rushing attempts. If Mostert does start, there should be some opportunities there. Both O and D-lines need to dominate for the Niners.
DeVante Parker vs Jason Verrett Verrett has looked great considering his extended absence from the game, but on Sunday he could have his biggest challenge yet with Parker who, last week, racked up 110 yards on 10 catches. There will be safety help available but the biggest help will be an effective pass-rush.
YAC Bros vs Kyle Van Noy It’s no secret that the lion’s share of yards come with the ball in the hands of the YAC bros. Shanahan’s creative mind pulls defensive players out of position to maximize the potential of these plays, and the playmakers take care of the rest. Van Noy will be pivotal in recognizing where the ball is going and making a beeline to the ball carrier and disrupting the plays before they get into the secondary.
The game should be fun to watch with some key players returning to the team in time for a decent challenge, which should, with a win, help gather momentum going into a tough stretch of games up to the bye week, which will be very welcome. Even with the new playoff rules, the Niners need to return to their winning ways, and quickly, to have a chance to make it to the playoffs again.
Prediction: 49ers 31 – 24
How do you see this game panning out? Tweet me @TaggSimon