Week 12/Game 11: San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins
When: Monday, November 25th at 5:20 pm PT (8:20 pm ET)
Where: Fed-Ex Field in Landover, Maryland
TV: ESPN (National)
SF Bay Area: KPIX 5 San Francisco
Washington DC Area: WDCA 20 Washington DC
Announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
49ers Seeking Capital Gains- The San Francisco 49ers are looking to rebound from two consecutive tough losses to NFC South Opponents when they take on the Washington Redskins on this week’s edition of Monday Night Football. The 49ers last Sunday in New Orleans gave the Saints all they could handle and seemingly had the game won when an controversial penalty basically took away a win the red and gold needed to have. With a bitter taste left over from a heartbreaking three point loss behind them, the 49ers look to get back into the win column against the last place team in the NFC East. The Redskins have struggled for much of the season as they enter this contest with a 3-7 record, and any hope for the post season looking almost somewhat out of reach. This is a far different Redskins team then the one that got off to a hot start last season before going on to win their division and make a playoff appearance. Robert Griffin III has had less than a stellar season coming off a major ACL injury in last year’s playoffs. Griffin has not been the same player and the rest of the team on both sides of the ball haven’t done much better. The 49ers meanwhile enter the game with a 6-4 mark and as of this writing are actually tied with the Arizona for second place in the NFC West. With the Seattle Seahawks at 10-1, the division title baring a total and improbable faceplant by the Seahawks is out of reach for the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick who has struggled as of recent is looking for a breakout game that can get the red and gold rolling again towards a wild card spot in the post season. The 49ers passing game has been their achilles as of late it rates at the bottom of the league. This has to change if the 49ers have any post season aspirations. Kaepernick in the last two games combined has been held under 250 yards passing. Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis have made plays when they’ve had the ball, but the problem Kaepernick has had is getting the rock to them. Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree has finally been cleared to practice but is unlikely to play in this game. The good news for Kaepernick & Company this week is they are facing a defense that is ranked near the bottom of the NFL in most categories.
Redskins Offense- On the surface RGIII has had a decent year at least statistically completing 60% of his passes for over 2,700 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Alfred Morris out of the backfield has been the top rusher for Washington with over 900 yards gained on the season. Morris has scored five touchdowns this season. Where the passing game is concerned RGIII has decent targets to throw to in Jordan Reed, Leonard Haukerson, Roy Helu, veteran receiver Santana Moss, and former Colt Pierre Garcon, The Redskins despite their record rate in the top ten in two offensive categories (6th in total yards gained, 1st in total average rushing yards per game). The Redskins average near 25 points a game and can be a difficult team to defend against. The 49ers defense despite what happened in New Orleans last weekend played a fairly solid game against a strong offense all things considered. The 49ers defense limited the Saints Drew Brees to just one touchdown pass. Ofcourse they will have a challenge in keeping the Redskins at bay as Washington with RGIII at the offensive helm has shown that if nothing else they can move the football competitively against most anyone. Look for RGIII to test Tramaine Brock, Eric Reed, Donte Whitner as often as he can. The key for the 49ers will be to get RGIII out of his rhythm and force him to seek another option during the course of the play. Don’t look for Ahmad Brooks, Patrick Willis, NoVarro Bowman or anyone on the 49ers defense to hold anything back as the rest of the season starts with this game. They will need to be on top of their game with RGIII leading the Redskins attack.
Redskins Defense- On the defensive side of the ball Washington simply has had a difficult time stopping most teams this season. The Redskins defense is currently 30th in the NFL in points allowed (over 31 a game on average), 28th in yards allowed (just under 400 a game); and 26th in pass yards allowed (an average of 280 a game). Led by veterans London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall the Redskins defense despite it’s statistical woes will be still looking for a way to keep Kaepernick & Company at bay. Fletcher, Hall along with Perry Riley, Josh Wilson, Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty will try to do what they can to derail the 49ers offense. They collectively have combined for over 200 tackles, though a number of them have occurred up-field from the line of scrimmage.
49ers Approach- The 49ers should be able to get Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and even Anthony Dixon involved in a running game. If the 49ers are able to successfully establish a decent running game here that should take some of the pressure off of Kaepernick. The 49ers are facing an average pass defense at best and should be able to make some plays in this department as well. The longer the 49ers offense can manage to stay on the field against the Redskins defensive units, the better chance they have to take control of the game as a team. This will allow for the defense to get the in-game rest they need to effectively deal with RGIII & Company.
Kingshark Line Prediction- For the 49ers this game against a struggling opponent even though on the road is one the red and gold simply need to have as a third straight loss is certainly not an option, and would not bode well for them. The 49ers should be able to find more than enough opportunities to attack the Redskins defense. Speaking of defense, the 49ers if they were able to contain the Saints to just one throwing touchdown for the entire game, it would stand to reason that they should be able to handle the Redskins just as well if not better. Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan’s play calling has become a sore subject in the Metro DC Area. His team will need to make a number of plays on both sides of the football to handle the 49ers. The Redskins want to play spoiler here. The 49ers won’t have none of that.... 49ers 27 Redskins 16. The 49ers have traveled this road before. They know they need to win out to secure a wild card post season birth. It’s go time for the 49ers as of right now. The hunt for January begins with this game.
Follow Me On Twitter @Kingshark49