In the words of Frank Costanza, I’M BACK BABAY!!!!! It has been a few weeks, and you can thank Jimmy for that—I was suspended from the site after making fun of him when Bama lost to Auburn. Seriously though, I have been incredibly busy recently with real-life, but with the Holidays coming, things should slow down and I will be ALL YOURS, MCM!
Now, Let’s quickly recap the past couple of weeks. Was the offense bad against Indianapolis, Houston, and Arizona? Absolutely. However, I am not ready to take a “sky is falling” approach. Not too long ago, the offense put up 23 against a top 3 defense in the league in Baltimore, and looked on the verge of a breakout when they played against Cincinnati. New England showed us on Monday how pesky divisional opponents can be no matter what their record is, so I can get over being stagnant against the Colts and Texans. Finally, Marcus Mariota was banged up against Arizona. That hit he took on the first drive of the game did not look great for his knee. Am I completely excusing the team? Absolutely not. Some of the calls have been absolutely puzzling, and Marcus will be the first one to say that he needs to play better. However, it is important to take a step back and say, look, this team is 8-5. They are 1 win away from their second straight winning season after winning 5 total games in 2014 and 2015 combined. They also have lost 1 of their last 10 at home. They may have hit a speed bump, but that does not mean it is time to blow up the entire organization AGAIN. I have news for you, every single rebuild reaches this point. If franchises fire everyone every single time they reach this point in a rebuild, you will forever be running on a treadmill, and running on a treadmill is absolutely terrible (literally and figuratively). Let’s see this thing through. They have a chance to handle their business today, reach 9 wins for the second year in a row, and then they essentially have to split these next two games, both of which are at home. Let’s slow down, see how the season progresses, and hope for the best. PS—Want to know who else was 8-5 at this point last season? The Atlanta Falcons. All that I’m saying is let’s let this play out, and let’s allow this regime to see things through. Take a step back—the team is improving. Now, onto today’s game:
Reasons For Confidence: 49ers’ Pass Defense, Offensive Line, Run Defense
49ers’ Pass Defense: The 49ers’ pass defense is ranked 29th, according to football outsiders. It may seem like that doesn’t really matter considering the way the offense played last week, but Arizona is ranked 5th. They have some serious talent on that defense. San Francisco has some talented players too, but I would not put them in the same ballpark as Arizona. I think that the Titans will find much more success today. They also could be missing two of their cornerbacks in Ahkello Witherspoon and Greg Mabin. I expect the offense to be much more productive today in the DELANIE WALKER REVENGE GAME!
Offensive Line: The 49ers’ defensive front is the strong-point of the defense. Deforest Buckner and Solomon Thomas will be a great combination for a long time in this league. However, the Titans’ offensive line can protect the passer with the best of them. If the interior of this offensive line is able to hold up and keep number 8 clean, it will go a long way towards this offensive getting back on track today.
Run Defense: With Kyle Shanahan’s offense, running the ball is everything. If the running backs are able to get rolling with that blocking scheme, it is tough to defend the playaction passes and bootlegs. That being said, the Titans’ run defense has been rock solid recently. Wesley Woodyard has been playing at a Pro Bowl level. If they can continue to stop the run as they have been able to do, it will really limit San Francisco’s offense.
Reasons For Concern: Jimmy G, Missing Starters
Jimmy G: This guy is going to be special. I went to a couple of different 49ers websites to see what their fans thought about today’s matchups overall, but couldn’t find much because everyone was so excited about Jimmy G. He has looked great through his first two games. When they start to build around him and bring in some more talent, I expect the 49ers to become #GreatAgain. That being said, he will take some risks. He has turned the ball over three times in his two starts, and this defense has a tendency to find the ball. They will need to in order to win this game.
Missing Starters: Another game without Derrick Morgan, and it seems likely that Jonathan Cyprien will not play today, either. Erik Walden played well and David King flashed last week, and they will need to repeat that performance to make up for Morgan. In terms of Cyprien, I think that he has played well since returning from injury. He was great in run support and off the blitz last weekend. With two defensive starters missing, it will have to be next man up.
Prediction and Matchups:
I know I said I was done with predictions, but I think we all need a pick-me-up, so I’m just going to say it: TITANS WIN, 31-13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
QB: Sue me, I’m going with #8 all day long, baby. Titans
RB: Depends on the day. It’s close to a wash, but I will give the Titans a slight edge.
WRs: The 49ers have some young talent, but again, I will give the Titans a slight edge.
TE: Delanie. Walker. Titans
Defense: The 49ers have some young talent. I’m going to call this a wash.
Coaching: Kyle Shanahan will be the coach of this franchise for a looooong time. 49ers
That’s it, boys and girls. The season could be on the line today. This is a huge game for the Titans, and they show up in big games. Let’s hope for a big win today. Go Titans.