As we approach the San Francisco 49ers showdown on Monday Night Football with the Washington Redskins here are four matchups that will undoubtedly decide the outcome of this game.
Matchup #2: Redskins Linebackers vs. Vernon Davis.
While it is true that Vernon’s numbers are “down” for him this season, make no mistake he is still a top 5 tight end in the NFL. He poses a threat to any defensive player that tries to cover him and a Redskins Defense ranked in the bottom five in almost every category this season will be forced to cover him and face that same threat on Monday night. Ryan Kerrigan, London Fletcher, Perry Riley Jr., and Brian Orakpo will likely all be forced to cover Vernon at some point in the game. Washington loves switching up their coverage and rarely shadows TE’s with one guy all game, so look for them to try a few different things on Monday Night Football to slow Davis down. The worst part for the Redskins is that Vernon Davis tends to play better when more is on the line, the spotlight of MNF, a tight NFC West race heating up, and all the pressure should favor Vernon Davis here.
Edge: Vernon Davis.
Matchup #3: Brad Seely vs. Keith Burns
I know what you are thinking… Who? Brad Seely is the Special Teams Coordinator for the 49ers while Keith Burns occupies the same position on the Redskins. This game could very well come down to a big special teams play seeing as how both of these teams are not very good at the 3rd facet of the game. The Redskins rank near dead last in punt coverage giving up 18 yards per return, meaning that this could be a breakout game for former Oregon Duck Lamichael James. The Niners on the other hand are quite mediocre when it comes to specials as well. Niles Paul has been a loan bright spot for the Redskins returning kicks and now that he is doing it full time look for him to maybe break one for a big gain or even a touchdown on Monday Night.
Edge: Brad Seely, LMJ, and the Niners Special Teams Units.
Matchup #4: Joe Looney vs. Redskins Defense.
With star guard Mike Iupati being ruled out for Monday Night’s game 2012 4th round pick from Wake Forest, Joe Looney looks to get his very first NFL start in his place. This will be interesting as the bulk of the 49ers run game goes up the middle in the A gap between Looney and Center Jonathan Goodwin. Keep your eye on #66 on the left side of the 49ers line on Monday Night, will the young Guard hold his own against a blitz happy Jim Haslett Defense? Or will the bright lights of Monday Night Football and big pressure of his first NFL Start get him (and more importantly Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick) in trouble?
Edge: Redskins Defense.
While the matchups are even (two for each team) look for the 49ers to win this game. It won’t be a blowout but with more on the line and more to lose, look for the 49ers to step up to the challenge the Redskins present and come home to The Bay with a win.
Prediction: 49ers win – 24-17.