The San Francisco 49ers can bounce back in Week 2 at home against the Detroit Lions. Niner Noise explains why the cornerback position will be the X-factor in this game.
Yes, we got the loss out of the way. That game is over, and it is time to move on.
San Francisco will return home this week for its home opener against the Detroit Lions — a team coming off of a humiliating 48-17 loss to the New York Jets at home on Monday Night Football. This upcoming Week 2 matchup is a must-win game for the Niners. The Lions look incredibly weak right now at almost every single position, and San Francisco knows that.
If the Lions somehow make this into a trap game and spoil the 49ers’ home opener, it will absolutely destroy the team’s confidence. While I expect San Francisco to win this game, the fear of the Lions winning is still there. Because if Detroit does indeed somehow manage to pull off an upset, the 49ers’ season will be in jeopardy.
Because this team has not been good in such a long time, it feels weird thinking about the possibility of a trap game.
If the 49ers’ cornerbacks play a good game, the team will beat the Lions. Detroit’s strongest position is, by far, wide receiver. Their starting corps of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay all provide great options to throw to for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was uncharacteristically terrible against the Jets.
Tate is one of the most reliable receivers in the league. He can play on the slot or on the outside, has soft hands and possesses a knack for getting extra yards, utilizing his small frame (5-foot-10 and 197 pounds).
His touchdown in Week 1 (Detroit’s only touchdown of the game) sums up Tate’s game pretty well — quick and elusive after the catch:
Jones is the most talented out of the three, as he is a big-play threat. He does not have the most consistent hands but always manages to deliver at least one jaw-dropping snag per game. He can run short, intermediate and deep routes with great precision and should be a tough cover for the 49ers cornerbacks in Week 2.
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The youngest out of the three receivers is Golladay, who projects to be the future at the position for the Lions. He stands at 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds — a frame fit for a true No. 1 receiver. As expected, he does well in making contested catches against secondary players, but he is also sneakily elusive — the man knows how to get open in the secondary.
Golladay led the Lions in receiving in Week 1 with 114 receiving yards on seven catches and was the lone bright spot for the team. I know cornerback Richard Sherman does not usually trail opposing receivers. But if there is any receiver to trail for him, it’s Golladay.
All of these three receivers will prove as big threats to the Niners cornerbacks, who all played a solid game in Week 1 against Minnesota. Sherman only allowed a single catch, and No. 2 corner Ahkello Witherspoon played well despite allowing a long touchdown reception to Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Slot cornerback K’Waun Williams got beat early by Vikings’ receiver Adam Thielen, but quickly rebounded and played a great game for the rest of the afternoon.
Sherman, Witherspoon and Williams are all talented enough to shut down Tate, Jones and Golladay — the Lions’ most talented unit.
If Detroit’s receivers are locked up, there will be no trap for the 49ers — just a simple cruise towards the first win of the season.