Coming off a two-game win streak, fueled by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers (3-10) will host the Tennessee Titans (8-5) on Sunday. The question is, will they be able to keep this up the win streak or will they ultimately fall short?
The 49ers front seven will look to have a big game in stopping the run this week. The Titans are a run centered offense, but have only had a rusher run for more than 100 yards three times this season. In return to the Titans struggles at running the ball, quarterback Marcus Mariota has also struggled. Mariota has a 10/14 touchdown to interception ratio, the worst of his career. If the 49ers defense could stop the run and put pressure on Mariota, he might continue making bad decisions which could result in turning the ball over.
Since Garoppolo has entered the lineup as the full starter for the 49ers, the offense has been more productive. Wide Receiver Marquise Goodwin has been a top target for Garoppolo the past two weeks. Goodwin has 14 receptions for 205 yards in these two games. By involving Goodwin more heavily in the offense would help move down the field and in a positive direction.
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Despite how well Garoppolo has looked in his first two games as a full-time starter, he has only found the end zone once. The next three games for the 49ers will tell if Garoppolo can be the quarterback of the future for this team. If he continues to struggle to find the end zone, the front office could have a lot of discussion about his future long term. In the past two weeks, the 49ers have kicked nine field goals. Luckily, kicker Robbie Gould has made all of them.
The run game has also had a hard time getting going this season, ranking 22nd in rush yards per game. Head coach Kyle Shanahan needs to stay committed to the run game and open up opportunities for his new quarterback to make plays. Getting the run game started will open opportunities downfield for Garoppolo, who has been having success with play-action pass plays in recent weeks. This can allow the offense to swiftly move downfield.
The 49ers face a favorable matchup this week versus the Titans. This team will be eager for a win this week, and will be looking to turn the back-to-back wins into a three-game winning streak. This can give the 49ers some momentum going into the final stretch of the season. The offense must focus on establishing the run and giving Garoppolo room to make plays. The defense must focus on pressuring Mariota and forcing him to make the bad decisions that lead to turnovers.
An upset is brewing for the Titans this week.
Prediction: 49ers 23, Titans 17