The Titans week 15 matchup with the 49ers could prove to be the biggest game of the year. Let’s take a look at a few key matchups.
Every week there are key matchups that swing a game in either teams’ favor. In most contests, certain units seem to be evenly matched and whichever side comes out on top will drive their team to victory. While there are plenty of matchups all over the field that will be interesting to watch this Sunday in the Bay, let’s focus on three of these key face-offs that will make the biggest impact.
Titans Offensive Line vs. 49ers Defensive Line:
It is no secret that a lot of the Titans’ struggles on offense this year have been due to the teams’ inability to run the ball effectively. Ineffectiveness in the run game has led to less success on play action, which is where Marcus Mariota excels. This blame could be fairly placed on the scheme or declined play or both. Second-year right tackle Jack Conklin has regressed. Interior linemen Ben Jones and Josh Kline have also struggled. In their defense, they are being asked to pull and move on power plays that are not their strength. At first glance, you would think the 49ers 25th ranked rushing defense would be a perfect spot to get things on track. Look closer though and you will see that in the last four weeks the 49ers run defense has been stout. Allowing an average of 89 yards per game over that stretch. Combine that with the fact that Taylor Lewan is banged up and this should be an intense battle. Whether the Titans are able to run the ball and gain positive yards on early downs will go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
Titans Secondary vs. 49ers Wide Receivers:
Jimmy Garoppolo has reinvigorated the 49ers team and fan base since taking over in week 13 of the season. He has led them to two victories in his only two starts. His weapons are still limited though. The trio of Trent Taylor, Marquis Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson will not strike fear into the hearts of many secondaries across the league, but with a talented play caller and a solid QB, these receivers have been making plays when needed. We will most likely see Adoree Jackson matched up against the speedster Goodwin. Goodwin has a propensity for making splash plays on deep balls, which are all the more possible with Garoppolo at the helm of the offense. It will be up to the improved, though still limited, Titans secondary to win this matchup as they do have a talent advantage. The Titans run defense has been one of the better units in the league this year. So, a strong showing from the secondary should prime the Titans for victory.
Ryan Succop vs. Robbie Gould:
Two weeks ago Robbie Gould had one of the greatest revenge games in the history of sport! After being cut by Chicago in the offseason, Gould was signed by San Francisco. When the 49ers played the Bears in Week 13 Gould hit five field goals, scoring his team’s only points, including the game-winning kick to beat his former club 15-14. We have also seen Titans’ Kicker Ryan Succop make heroic kicks in a revenge-soaked setting (See KC, 2016). With both teams being limited offensively, it is highly likely that this game will feature plenty of field goals. Succop has missed at least one kick in 4 out of his last 5 games. This would give the advantage to Gould on paper, but whichever kicker plays his best on Sunday may ultimately be the most impactful player on the field.