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49ers vs Ravens: Five Keys to Victory and Score Prediction

Matt Andruscavage
Nov 30, 2019 at 9:10 AM


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San Francisco is 10-1 after its 37-8 drubbing of the Green Bay Packers and now it travels eastward for a showdown with the 9-2 Baltimore Ravens.

This match-up is receiving all kinds of hype as fans and analysts alike are referring to this game as a "mid-season Super Bowl preview". While both teams certainly have a chance to make it that far, the weather may impede some of the expected offensive fireworks. It's expected to be a rainy afternoon, making it a potentially difficult game for both teams.

For the 49ers, they are getting healthy. George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Emmanuel Sanders weren't even mentioned on Friday's injury report, so they are full-gos for Sunday. Joe Staley and Matt Breida have been upgraded to 'questionable' and could play. Robbie Gould is all the way back and will be in uniform for the first time since Halloween against Arizona.

Dee Ford and Dante Pettis will miss Sunday's game, but neither are expected to be out long-term.

The Ravens had a couple of setbacks on their offensive line. Starting center Matt Skura was lost for the season on Monday Night against the Rams and will be replaced by rookie Patrick Mekari. It's a significant loss as Skura is considered their top lineman, especially with what he does in the running game. Guard Bradley Bozeman has been battling an ankle injury and is officially listed as 'questionable', though he did fully participate in Friday's practice. Tackle Orlando Brown has been dealing with an illness, but was back at practice on Friday.

Here are the 49ers' keys to victory for Sunday's game:

Where and When: Sunday December 1, 2019 at 10:00 AM PST at M&T Bank Stadium

1) Make Lamar Jackson Pass



Obviously, Lamar Jackson is dangerous in the passing game, but the 49ers have to keep him in the pocket to have a chance at limiting the Ravens' offense. Linebacker Fred Warner will likely spy Jackson in the passing attack, but he is probably going to need help to ensure San Francisco has more tacklers than Baltimore has blockers if Jackson scrambles. Defending the pass will have challenges, but if they can keep Jackson from running often, they can give their pass rush a real chance to get stops and force inaccurate throws.

If Baltimore wins this game, it will be because Lamar Jackson was able to make too many plays on offense, especially with his legs.

2) Control the Clock



One old cliche for winning games is, "You can't score if you're on the bench." The 49ers need to control the clock, especially in the bad weather. The clock management and ability of the offense to convert on third downs has been very good all season and has resulted in a number of long drives. In addition to running the ball, screen passes to running backs, George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk should provide quality gains to keep the chains moving, which also can quiet the crowd.

In a game that appears to be promising some bad weather, San Francisco has an opportunity to slow down the Ravens' offense by simply keeping it off the field. Expect the 49ers to take advantage of it.

3) Excel on Special Teams



Field position is going to be key and there will be punting from both sides. Being able to get off good punts and prevent returns will be important to winning the field position battle. On the flip side, if the return game can get Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense into good field position, it will go a long way in producing points, even if those points come from the leg of Robbie Gould.

Hopefully, we will see some old-school blocking techniques to ensure there is no way any return can be called back for holding or block in the back.

4) No Turnovers



Baltimore has a good defense and since Marcus Peters arrived, it is more dangerous in the "big-play" department. If the 49ers are going to win this game, they probably will not be able to overcome a multiple turnover game. The ball has to come out quick and the ground game will need to return to form, but most importantly, they cannot give the ball to Lamar Jackson and allow him to start with a short field.

5) Don't Send the House



San Francisco will need to send defenders on blitzes, but Cover 0 blitzes (zero deep defenders with several blitzers) should be avoided. Jackson seems to find an opening after stepping up and has either completed a pass for a big play (6 touchdowns and a 147.9 rating against Cover 0) or he runs for a big gain. The 49ers will have to send at least one extra defender occasionally, but they have to guard against the big runs. Cover 0 will likely not be a good idea.

Prediction



The 49ers are fully embracing the underdog role and they simply don't care that they are counted out nearly every week. They're getting healthy and their confidence is rising each week.

The weather may prove to be the great equalizer as Baltimore could have difficulty generating those big plays on offense. The style of game we will likely see should favor the 49ers, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Lamar Jackson will make some plays, making this game a very good one, but in the 4th quarter, the 49ers defense will force a big turnover, allowing the offense to capitalize.

49ers 20, Ravens 16
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.


1 Comment

  • IBleedRed&gold
    They have no proven receivers. Hollywood is good for a rookie but he’s still a rookie. Jackson is amazing, but he hasn’t faced our Defense yet. Russell Wilson is more experienced and is more accurate and we should’ve beat him. If we can force Jackson to stay in the pocket and throw it, we’ll win. If we allow him to break containment it’s going to be a long day! Here’s hoping we win this chess match and our Offense our scores theirs. Go Niners!
    Nov 30, 2019 at 1:12 PM
    0

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