Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Five keys to a 49ers victory vs the Patriots

Oct 23, 2020 at 3:38 PM


As the San Francisco 49ers prepare to take on the New England Patriots, I'll provide five keys for a 49ers victory, as well as a final score prediction.

The 49ers have more than 25 rushing attempts

The 49ers are 3-0 this year when they exceed 25 rushing attempts, and 0-3 when they have fewer than 25. The return of wide receiver Deebo Samuel has given the offense an enormous boost in the run game, as he has been fantastic running jet sweeps and reverses and as a result has opened up running lanes for teammates as defenses have been forced to account for his pre-snap motioning. If they are able to eclipse the 25 rushing attempt threshold, it means they likely did not find themselves facing a large deficit and were able to execute the offense to its full potential.

Win the battle on third down

In their 3 losses, the 49ers converted only 28% of their 3rd down attempts, while in their 3 wins they have converted 52%. This one is really simple: it is imperative that the 49ers find a way to put themselves in manageable situations on third down, allowing them a better chance to convert and string together drives.

Force Cam Newton to beat you with his arm

It's no secret the 49ers have had their struggles with mobile quarterbacks, as this season the defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to rush for 6.7 yards per carry. While Newton isn't the same rushing threat he used to be, he still is averaging a respectable 5 yards per carry this season. The 49ers will need to find a way to contain Newton in the pocket and force him to throw, where he has had far less success this season.

Put Jimmy Garoppolo in a position to succeed

Garoppolo played very well against the Rams, largely because the 49ers were able to scheme play action looks due to the success they had running the football. This season, Garoppolo has a completion percentage of 72% when throwing off the play action, compared to 60.8% when he does not. Kyle Shanahan needs to find a way to get the ground game going, so Garoppolo can be at his best, throwing darts over the middle of the field off play action.

Do not giveaway first downs

In each of the 49ers' three losses this year, the team has given up at least 3 first downs via penalty. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a reputation for leading teams that pride themselves on being disciplined, and it is imperative that the 49ers find a way to match that level of self restraint. The 49ers must avoid gifting the Patriots offense additional opportunities to extend drives because of mental mistakes on the defensive side of the ball.

Final Score Prediction
49ers 23 - Patriots 20
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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