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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory vs. Ravens on Christmas Night

Dec 24, 2023 at 7:15 AM

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Happy holidays to everyone out there. It's Week 16 in the NFL, and Monday Night Football will be electric on Christmas night. The Baltimore Ravens head west to take on the San Francisco 49ers in a potential Super Bowl 58 preview. Both teams sit at the top of their respective conference with 11-3 records. If the 49ers want to improve to 12-3, keep their six-game win streak alive, and be the overall number-one team in the NFL, they must stick to the Keys to Victory.

Contain the Quarterback

This will not be the first time the 49ers have dealt with a mobile quarterback this season. They've faced Joshua Dobbs, Jalen Hurts, and Kyler Murray, to name a few, and the team held those three to a total of 117 rushing yards. Lamar Jackson may pose a bigger threat.

Jackson leads the Ravens in rushing with 741 yards and explosive plays with 26. The 49ers seem to have the blueprint for today's mobile quarterbacks. Contain the edge, and don't over-pursue. The 49ers must keep Jackson in the pocket and force him to throw. If the 49ers contain him and limit his explosive runs, they will improve to 12-3.

Stop the Run

The Ravens have the number-one rushing offense in the NFL. They average 163.8 yards per game. Stopping Jackson may be challenging, but they must eliminate the other running backs, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and Melvin Gordon.

Although the 49ers rank third in run defense, the team allowed 234 rushing yards to the Cardinals last week. The 49er's defense must return to what makes them great and take away the run first.

Play Fundamentally Sound

Last week against the Cardinals, the 49ers defense recorded 16 missed tackles. Several missed tackles lead to explosive plays, mainly on the ground. The 49ers have struggled with tackling all season long, and this week against the Ravens could be the team's ultimate test. If the 49ers want to improve their record, they must play the game right and stick to the fundamentals.

Run the Ball to the Outside

The 49ers are the third-best rushing team in the league, averaging 139.9 yards per game. The Ravens rank 10th against the run, giving up 102 yards per game. The strength of their defense is their nose tackle. The 49ers may want to get the ball to the outside, so expect stretch plays, tosses, and sweeps. Moving the ball successfully laterally will wear and tear the Ravens' defense down.

Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen are among the elite linebackers in the NFL, so the 49ers need to get them moving. Running the ball outside will allow the power runs to be successful later in the game. Most importantly, the 49ers must establish the run by any means necessary and prevent it from becoming one-dimensional. If the 49ers execute their run plan, they will run into another victory.

Be Decisive

This may be the biggest test of Brock Purdy's career. The Ravens are stingy on defense and do not give up many points, ranking first in scoring defense at 16.1 points per game. The Ravens like to disguise their coverages by moving the safeties very late. Purdy has to continue to show that he's not phased by the looks of the defense and not get fooled by the disguise.

Expect the Ravens to show Cover 3 but transform to Cover 2 to trick Purdy. The 49ers quarterback must make quick decision-making to avoid mistakes. If he makes the correct read, the 49ers will continue to have opportunities to capitalize on. Luckily for Purdy, he has a great supporting cast, and his ability to see the field is uncanny.

In conclusion, the 49ers and Ravens matchup may be one for the ages. This game can come down to the end with an opportunity for the kickers of each team. Either way, it will be a must-see TV on the most magical night of the season. If the 49ers want to be number one in the NFL, they must stick to the Keys to Victory. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
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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