On Sunday the 49ers (2-10) will take on the Texans (4-8) in Houston. Coming off a big victory in Jimmy Garoppolo‘s first start as Niner the young San Francisco team will look to catch a second consecutive win. Without a doubt, this is yet another winnable game for the 49ers. Houston was a team that looked like a serious contender behind Deshaun Watson, but they have been poor with Tom Savage. After a great start, the Texans are a team that is on the decline.
The San Francisco offense found new life under Garoppolo last week against the Bears. The new franchise quarterback had a great day, performing especially well in play-action. The biggest issue that the team faced was the inability to score in the redzone. Robbie Gould was forced to kick five field goals last week, thankfully converting all five. The Niners run game had a hard time getting going and should likely have the same issue this week. The Texans run defense is stout, and the path to success for the San Francisco offense will likely be through the air.
However, it will still be important for coach Shanahan to stay committed to the run game. Given the success that Garoppolo found in the play-action pass game on Sunday, it will be important to establish the run early. If the Texans defense is not sold on play fakes late in the game it is not likely the play-action will have the success it did Sunday.
Sure, Garoppolo stole all of the headlines on Sunday for the Niners. However, there is no argument that the defense was the true key to the team’s success. Reuben Foster will look to have another excellent performance on Sunday, making plenty of tackles in the run game. Foster has a good chance of doing so against a Texans team that has struggled in the run game the past few weeks.
Houston is middle of the pack in terms of passing yardage, but those numbers are skewed. When playing with Savage under center they are a far worse team. However, they do have elite threats in the passing game. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best wide receivers in all of football, dangerous at all levels. Will Fuller is also quietly dangerous, he can take the top off of the defense at any time. Look for Savage to take some deep shots on Sunday and attempt to expose the 49ers secondary.
The 49ers are faced with another winnable matchup on Sunday. Looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in a long, long time it will be an interesting game on Sunday. On offense, it will be crucial for the Niners to establish the run in order to succeed in play-action. On defense, the focus must be on stopping Hopkins and Fuller as much as possible.
I see another win coming on Sunday.
49ers – 20, Texans – 14