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Matchup to watch for 49ers vs. Steelers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 8, 2023 at 3:13 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are facing off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Week 1 showdown at Acrisure Stadium to kick off the 2023 NFL season, with defensive end Nick Bosa officially back with the team after signing a five-year contract extension earlier this week.

The 49ers enter the game as two-point favorites, dictating how close the game could be, as the over/under for points is only at 41, meaning oddsmakers believe it'll be a low-scoring game.

With several factors potentially changing the outlook of the game, what is the matchup to watch for the 49ers against the Steelers?

Patrick Peterson vs. the 49ers WRs

Both pass rushes are strong against average to below-average offensive lines, as the 49ers sport Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Javon Hargrave, while the Steelers have T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Cameron Heyward.

However, I can't not go with the Patrick Peterson battle after the cornerback had some bold words ahead of the team's week 1 performance, believing the 49ers' offense has certain tells that will lead to his first interception against the team with Kyle Shanahan in his career.

"There is some tell signs out there that tells us what plays we're gonna get from those guys in certain situations," Peterson said on his "All Things Covered podcast". "When I get my pick Sunday, we'll talk about it."

In response, quarterback Brock Purdy was classy, praising the veteran quarterback, while taking the high road in addressing the situation.

"Yeah, I don't really know what to say about that," Purdy said, in response to Peterson. "I mean, he's a good player. Patrick Peterson's a great player. I grew up watching him and everything. I was obviously from Arizona. He played for the Cardinals and stuff. So yeah, it's the competitive nature of football. So, we'll see."

Peterson has been a very good cornerback throughout his career, but will undoubtedly be facing a tough challenge in San Francisco's wideouts, with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel leading the charge.

The pass rushes for both sides will be strong, which means the quarterback and receivers will need to be on the same page timing-wise to execute a "clean" offense on Sunday.

That means the winner of this battle could ultimately dictate how successful the 49ers' offense is in Week 1, especially with the added trash talk ahead of the game.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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