Friday, December 14, 2012
5 Burning Questions and a Week 15 Prediction
1) Can Colin Kaepernick survive Bill Belichick?
The Patriots head coach has a history of designing defenses to stop some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Remember 1990, when he held Joe Montana to 19 points over the course of 2 games as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. This is going to be a fun matchup to watch.
2) How will Vic Fangio attempt to slow down Tom Brady?
The 49ers defense has struggled to stop quick slot receivers, and non is better than Wes Welker in the slot. Looking back at those tough matchups against Reggie Cobb, Percy Harvin, Victor Cruz and Danny Amendola, it is interesting to note that while they gave up a lot of yards to those guys the most points they gave up was 26 to the Giants, and in that game the offense gave the Giants 6 points with turnovers deep in their own territory.
3) Can the 49ers defense force Tom Brady to beat them?
As crazy as this might sound it is their best chance at winning. They need to take away the run threat and force Brady to beat them with his arm. Not many teams have been able to do this, but those that were successful in doing this have been able to keep the score manageable. Just go back and watch how Arizona, Seattle, and Miami held the Patriots to under 24 points.
4) Can Aldon Smith recreate his Missouri magic?
Aldon Smith has some history with Patriots tackle Nate Solder. When the two met up in college in 2009 Smith took advantage of Solder to record 4 sacks. And news out of New England today is that Solder was limited in practice on Friday. If Smith can recreate this on Sunday, advantage 49ers.
5) Will Vernon Davis be involved?
I am not worried about how the 49ers have utilized Davis this season. I only mention this because I think there is a big advantage for the 49ers with Davis working on the Patriots linebackers. This could be a big day for Davis.
This is going to be a battle. Think 49ers-Lions from last season. Two teams with different styles, going at one another. The 49ers defense has proven that it can rise to the occasion against the top quarterbacks in the league all year.
If the 49ers can hold onto the ball, and I think they will, this is how I see this game going down. It will be a low scoring game, with the Patriots taking a 20-16 lead in the 4th quarter.
The 49ers will get the ball back with about 5 minutes remaining, and Colin Kaepernick will lead the team down the field and into position to win. Once they get to the red zone, Roman will call the same play he did late in the Seattle game, and Kaepernick will hit Randy Moss along the back line of the end zone for a touchdown.
The 49ers defense will then hold on for the victory. And much like the Giants last season, a late year victory in Foxboro will help propel a Super Bowl run.
Final Score 49ers 23 Patriots 20