Week 11 versus New England Patriots
Sunday, November 20 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Ah, Bay Area-native quarterback Tom Brady returns home, and he won’t be rusty from the four-game suspension he’ll have to serve to start 2016.
The New England Patriots are going to be really good until, well, they aren’t any longer. And there haven’t been any signs of that changing in recent years, so why should anyone expect anything different this season?
New England is the second conference contender the 49ers will face this season, so it’s not surprising why the Niners have such a tough schedule — combine these bouts with the NFC West.
The 49ers may have the benefit of playing a banged-up Pats squad, as wide receivers Danny Amendola (knee) and Julian Edelman (undetermined) could be dealing with significant injuries this season.
Still, it’s the Patriots. And that defense is still pretty good too.
Why the 49ers Win
Injuries aside, the 49ers somehow figure out a way to stop tight end Rob Gronkowski. Perhaps the Niners quadruple-team him, put one other defender in coverage and send the rest to rush Brady.
Seriously. It would probably take that kind of effort.
At any rate, the Patriots are going to score. So the means of operation for San Francisco would be to try and match the Pats’ offensive prowess as best as possible while hoping any deficit doesn’t grow too large.
And, maybe, a last-second field goal proves to be the difference.
Why the 49ers Lose
Gronkowski. Few NFL teams have found an answer to him, and the 49ers likely don’t have one either.
Brady and the passing game, whoever is at wide receiver, hasn’t been effectively stopped for long periods of time since, well, it’s been a while. So why should anyone expect the Niners to suddenly be able to do so.
New England’s defense doesn’t allow the 49ers to get any sort of rhythm going, which amounts to San Francisco trying to force passes ineffectively.
Next: Week 12 at Miami Dolphins