On Sunday night the San Francisco 49ers will walk into Foxboro Stadium with most giving them little chance to win and some saying blowout. If I was to base this game on what happened to the Texans, I could see how many think this. The Ex Patriots on NFL Network of course are going to tell the fans of the 49ers that you can expect more of the same. Ray Ratto on Chronicle live predicted that Tom Brady will throw for a minimum 4 touchdowns against the 49er Defense what could be blizzard conditions. If Ray Ratto is correct in his statement this would be only the second time in 2 seasons that the 49ers would have given up 4 touchdowns to anybody. The last was the NFC Divisional game against the Saints and nobody was hotter than Drew Brees going into that game. I have heard enough from all the experts and how the Patriots are too good to beat heck a Patriot fan ran me down at the local Wal Mart to tell me we had no chance and they would win by 15 minimum. So how could this be the game of the year?
Yes the Patriots destroyed the Texans on Monday but the Niners are far more battle tested and play a style of defense that has given the Patriots fits this season. Both the AZ Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks have beaten the Patriots this season. They did it with lots of pressure up the middle and making Tom Brady get out of the pocket where he then was sacked 5 times and picked off three times. The 49ers Defense has faced the best Quarterbacks the league has to offer and have fared quite well giving up the fewest points in the league. If you’re the 49ers Defense do any of the players stand out to be that much better than what the team has already faced this year? I would have to say no the Patriots have some good skill players like Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez and a deep threat with Brandon Lloyd who had done little until last week. The running game has been doing well but the running backs of the Patriots are nowhere near the caliber the 49ers are used to facing. For the 49ers on defense the physical play and speed will be quite difficult for the Patriots to match and with the cold weather added in expect a few fumbles hopefully the ball goes are way.
When the 49ers have the ball Colin Kaepernick will have a chance once again on prime time to prove he is the right man to lead the 49ers. The call from some is for the 49ers to open up the offense and throw the deep ball. This would be a big mistake for the 49ers and honestly I don’t see that happening. This is true playoff type football and the 49ers need to run the ball, beat up and demoralize the Patriots Defense. In order to do this the 49ers need to attack the strength of the Patriots and that is Vince Wilfork . The 49ers interior line will need to move Wilfork out of the way and run up the middle. Once they can establish this Colin will be able to run the option and will be able to then open up the passing game. I know Tom Brady is a great cold weather quarterback and the 49ers have no idea how and if the weather will effect Colin but if you just keep handing the ball off the weather will not be much of a factor.
I am not discouraged by what is said in the media about this game I find some of it comical. While very few have given a ridiculous prediction like Ray Ratto you can expect this game to be very close. Tom Brady is going to make some great plays and the 49ers Defense will also make some great plays. Mistakes will decide the victor in what will be one of the best games of the season and hopefully a Super Bowl preview.
My prediction Niners 24 Patriots 16
By Mike Zamora