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NFL Week 16 Preview - Know Thy Enemy: San Francisco 49ers

(photo credit: Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Written by: Joseph Yun

The Titans host the hard-nosed and physical 49ers in a Thursday night battle of wits between two vastly different head coaches but similar team mindsets. Can the Titans rebound after a tough loss to the Steelers in a short week? Can the 49ers keep it going after a resounding victory over the competitive Falcons? It’s a battle of streaks as Tennessee limps in (quite literally) losing three of the last four while San Francisco is hot as winners of the five of the last six. Tennessee would do just as well to hold onto a top-five seed in the increasingly tight AFC playoff picture. The 49ers are holding firm at the six seed but can move up as high as the four or five pending outcomes elsewhere.

49ers key numbers + info (2021 season)

Record: 8-6 (1-4 NFC West)

Points scored: 360

PPG: 25.71

Points allowed: 314

PPGa: 22.42

Avg. yards per rush: 4.3

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.2

Avg. rush yards per game: 126.64

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 105.71

Rushing TDs: 20 for, 16 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 240.00

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 213.21

Passing TDs: 21 for, 20 against

Pass Completion Rate: 65%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 68%

Leading Rusher: Elijah Mitchell (165 attempts for 759 yards and five touchdowns)

Leading Receiver: Deebo Samuel (61 receptions for 1,088 yards and five touchdowns)

Leading Tackler: Fred Warner (108 tackles, four tackles for loss, four passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, two quarterback hits)

Key Additions: C Alex Mack, RB Elijah Mitchell (rookie), CB Ambry Thomas (rookie), CB Josh Norman, S Talanoa Hufanaga (rookie), CB Deommodore Lenoir (rookie), LB Dre Greenlaw, DL Maurice Hurst, DL Charles Omenihu, QB Trey Lance (rookie), EDGE Arden Key

Key Losses: DL Javon Kinlaw (IR), WR Richie James (IR), OL Mike McGlinchey (IR), CB Jason Verrett (IR), EDGE Dee Ford (IR), RB Trey Sermon (IR), RB Trenton Cannon (IR), RB Raheem Mostert (IR), WR Mohamed Sanu (IR), CB Dre Kirkpatrick

Series History

San Francisco leads the all-time series 9-5-0. An away record of 1-1 in Nissan Stadium against the Titans franchise. An all-time away record of 1-4 against the Houston Oilers.

Keys to a Titans Victory

The Fast and not so furious

- The Titans will be without the services of both left tackle Taylor Lewan and left guard Rodger Saffold. It will be imperative for Tennessee to continue its reliance on its newfound running game resilience. Perhaps OC Todd Downing has found a secret weapon in the throwing to the backs out of the backfield. The left side will be an adventure as the slated starters are less than ideal and the Titans will likely be equipped with YAC monsters Julio Jones and AJ Brown. Instead of relying on Ryan Tannehill to save the day, why not use the YAC capability and use the quick passing game?

Run. It

- San Francisco’s run defense ranks closer to the middle of the pack but is considerably worse on the road, giving up close to 118 yards per game away from Santa Clara. Dontrell Hillard and D'Onta Foreman have done yeoman’s work trying to replicate the irreplaceable Derrick Henry. It’s coming apparent that Tannehill isn’t the quarterback that we were all led to believe to be. Save him from himself and focus on the run game.

Kyle Shanahan vs. Shane Bowen

- Bowen and nominally Jim Schwartz will be tested to their absolute limits with the schematic machinations of Shanahan. The 49ers have an incredible fleet of versatile weapons including the likes of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and the eternally great George Kittle to direct their way to fearsome outputs. Can Mr. Bowen and company get in the head of Coach Shanahan and outthink the opposition displaying such offensive ferocity? Emerging star back and rookie sensation Elijah Mitchell has been ruled out for the contest so that’s one less thing to worry about.

Keys to a 49ers Victory

Protect Jimmy G

- Tennessee boasts a fearsome defensive front with Harold Landry, Jeffery Simmons, and Denico Autry accounting for 25 sacks and 50 quarterback hits. The 49ers and Titans will be a match of good on good in the trenches. It’s imperative that the NorCal outfit protect Jimmy G in order to continue his hot streak. Simmons will be seething as he missed out on being named as a Pro Bowl starter despite his stellar play. Autry has been a gem of a find coming over from the Colts. The left side is rock solid with Silverback Williams and Laken Tomlinson but can the right side hold up?

Target the left side

- Obviously missing two Pro Bowl level starters on one whole side of the line is a giant blaring mismatch for a front as talented as the 49ers have. It would behoove them to stack their best and brightest (Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead) to that side and make it a long night for Mike Vrabel’s men.

Injury Report - 49ers @ Titans

What are the Odds?

BetMGM has the 49ers as 3.5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 44.5 points. The money line is San Francisco at -175 and Tennessee is +145.

Caesars has the 49ers as 3.5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 44.5 points. The money line is San Francisco at -180 and the Titans are +155.

WynnBet has the 49ers as 3.5 point favorites at -105 while the Titans are +115 dogs. The over/under has been set at 44.5 points. The money line is 49ers at -190 and the Titans are -160.



Tennessee 17


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