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Pats vs. Niners - Initial Thoughts

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mayoclinic, Dec 11, 2012.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Intriguing matchup of the best offense in the NFL (by far) with the best defense in the NFL (by far):

    - The Pats are averaging 36.3 PPG and 425.7 YPG, both well ahead of any team in the NFL. They're very balanced, ranking 5th in passing and 7th in rushing. They lead the league in 1st downs, rushing 1st downs and 3rd down conversion %. They have turned the ball over only 7 times all season.
    - 49ers are giving up a league-low 14.2 PPG. Very stingy defense. They're 2nd in YPG, 2nd in passing YPG, and tied for 2nd (with Houston!) in rushing YPG. Aldon Smith leads the NFL in sacks with 19.5 and is threatening Michael Strahan's record. Justin Smith presents JJ Watt-like challenges up front. Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman are as active an ILB combo as you will find in the NFL. And the 49ers have a much, much better secondary than Houston.

    No team has put up more than 26 points on the 49ers this season. It will be interesting to see how the Pats' offense matches up against them.

    Some things to think about:

    1. On Defense:

    - Is this an "establish the run and then pass" kind of game, or is this more of a "Williams Wall" kind of game? I favor a more varied approach (I'll avoid using the word "balanced"). The 49ers have a good pass defense, so it's not like they are particularly susceptible. Aaron Rodgers put up 303 yards passing and 2 TDs/1 INT against them. Drew Brees moved the ball against them, but forced the ball and ended up with 2 pick 6's. OTOH, the Giants rushed for 149 yards in beating the 49ers 26-3 on the road. The Rams rushed for 159 yards and passed for 299 in playing the 49ers to a 24-24 tie. 4 teams have rushed for over 100 yards against the 49ers this year and the Dolphins rushed for 94. The Pats are averaging almost 140 YPG on the ground, and I'm fairly confident that they can run it against the 49ers. As with the Texans and JJ Watt, establishing the run would help keep the Smiths at bay against Brady. I think that using a full stable of bigger backs (Ridley, Bolden) and quicker backs (Vereen, Woodhead) could wear down the 49ers defense some. I think the New Orleans game is a good example of getting too pass-happy.

    - The SF LB's are very mobile and good in coverage. It may not be as easy to exploit the middle of the field as with most teams. Dashon Goldson is also a very strong player. OTOH, their CBs are good but not special, and there may be some outside matchups to be exploit. It may make sense to use Hernandez and/or Vereen split outside as a WR in this game.

    - The OL needs to keep track of the Smiths at all times, much as it did with JJ Watt. TE help will be key.

    2. On Defense:

    - Stopping the run will be the #1 priority. SF is the #1 rushing team in the NFL at over 160 YPG. They don't have the firepower to beat the Pats through the air, or to come from behind. If the Pats get out to a lead and make the 49ers pass, it's going to be difficult.

    - Too bad Julian Edelman is on IR, otherwise I bet he would be used to play Colin Kaepernick during game preparations this week. The Pats need to prepare for the problems a mobile QB can cause.

    - I'm hoping that Talib, Dennard and Arrington will be back because I think that the defense can cause an inexperienced QB like Kaepernick to get confused and flustered by throwing a lot of different looks and stunts at him, so long as they have confidence in the back end to protect the deep part of the field. The 49ers deep threats aren't that great, but the defense will have to beware of breakdowns in containment and coverage from Kaepernick extending plays.

    - The 49ers have given up 32 sacks this year, so look for more blitzes and pressure, hopefully leading to some turnovers.

    The 49ers are only averaging about 24 PPG, and the Pats defense is averaging 21 PPG, and just over 18 PPG for the last 4 games. It's going to take an above average offensive effort from the 49ers and a good defensive effort for them to win.

    Special teams could also be a factor, as Andy Lee is one of the best punters in the business.
     
  2. QB12

    QB12 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Tom Brady said today they have one of the best defenses he's ever seen. You know he'll be ready, Sunday Might Football, Al & Cris, Faith Hill, etc.
     
  3. Bhelmet

    Bhelmet Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    The Niners always worried me more than the Texans. Their D is nasty and without a running game - we could be toast - because they will get Brady if he has to sit back there. For the first time this season, I worry more about the O than the D - I think our D will play them very well. This could be a 17-10 type game or 20-17 - something low. Definitely a game where whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game. I hope we keep the mistakes to minimum - glad this one is at Gillette.
     
  4. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    "...without a running game - we could be toast ..."

    :confused:
     
  5. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

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    We will see. For years, Brady has struggled badly against the Ravens defense while torching the Steelers, even though these two defenses have been statistically similar. We'll find out how we match up with them- the Pats could torch them or struggle badly- either way I won't be surprised.

    Could really use Gronkowski for this game.
     
  6. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Last week was a big test for the D, they passed with flying colors. This week is a big test for the O, we will learn a lot.
     
  7. PincerPrice

    PincerPrice Rookie

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    Weather could be a factor in this game. Some outlets are calling for rain, some say snow, but either way there could be a decent amount of precipitation.
     
  8. D-Money

    D-Money In the Starting Line-Up

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    The 49ers offense doesnt scare me as much if they stop the run.This will be a tougher game though then the texans game.
     
  9. Patjew

    Patjew PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Didn't you hear they might sit Vereen, Ridley, and Wood**** for the game?
     
  10. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    Yup, stop the run 1st is key to beating the 9ers. Gore is a bona fide #1 tailback. However that plays right into the strengths of the Pats defense. Wilfork and Love are like brick walls up front. Mayo has amazing range, Spikes is a piledriver in the middle, and Hightower's game has been getting stronger as the season progresses.

    After that, the Pats need to maintain discipline to keep Kaepernick in the pocket. I'd rather force him to beat our coverages then allow him to run wild on the ground.

    Love the matchup of Juggernaut offense against the NFL's most impressive defense. I expect we can win as long as all our units bring their A game, but it won't be an easy one.
     
  11. Bhelmet

    Bhelmet Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I explained my position - perhaps I should have used a modifier like successful.
     
  12. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah. Shut down the 49ers rushing attack and make Kaepernick beat you through the air. Outside of Vernon Davis, there's not a heap of talent in their passing attack. Crabtree is a possession receiver who is sporadic at best.

    The Patriots D has been playing alright of late. If the O comes to play and watching Kaepernick's struggles against the Rams, this should be an interesting game.
     
  13. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I inferred the modifier. I think a case can be made that that Pats have a successful running game, by any measure.
     
  14. Bhelmet

    Bhelmet Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    We've had our good games and our bad games on the ground - this one better be a good one.
     
  15. Elijah

    Elijah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #11 Jersey

    Sunday Night Football helped a lot against the Ravens.

    I think the Patriots will win, but it has nothing to do with being on primetime...
     
  16. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

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    it's a 415 game..nevermind..a 820 game
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  17. DaBronxPats14

    DaBronxPats14 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Love our chances against any/everyone. Running game will be there, MAN did you see JJ Watt lookin for nearest oxygen tank. Best Neutralizer to an agressive D is Brady and super hurry-up no huddle. Wouldn't be surprised Pats put up high 30's in this game prime time Sunday Nite.
     
  18. I.M. Fletcher

    I.M. Fletcher Practice Squad Player

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    Much like wilfork played his best after hearing about watt all week, don't be surprised if mayo doesn't show similar flashes going against the best linebacker in the league in Patrick Willis. Mayo will again hold a ton of responsibility, between keeping ck in the pocket, protecting against screens, filling up the middle against the run, and helping intermediate routes by Vernon Davis.

    I think this is going to be an old school fight in the trenches game. Linebackers typically standout in those type, and we will need mayo to keep elevating his game.

    I also think bolden will have a presence in this game, We will need that power play in this one, especially in the second half. He only had two carries against mostly second stringers, but he looked powerful, which I am sure the coaching staff saw.
     
  19. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I guess I'd have to see game-by-game stats, but, sure you'd definitely want the run game to be effective against SF.

    One thing I've liked about the Pats running game is, even if it's shut down for stretches, they've shown (last two weeks for example) they can dial it up later and use it to close out games effectively. Being able to set loose any of four RBs against a D that's fatigued from trying all game to keep up with a fast-paced offense is pretty handy.
     
  20. mosi

    mosi Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    San Fran is much better defensively than the Texans. Goldson will knock your head off and they have much better linebackers. This game should much closer. I could see a 12-9 game.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
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