No. 2: Force turnovers. It’s one of the most important categories in determining who wins and who doesn’t.
Let’s talk about this All-Pro Niners defence. It’s true what they say: “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has his squad ranked second in defensive points and yards. The last time the Bay Area saw a team this dominant was back in 2012. To add oxygen to the fire, that was the year San Francisco went to the Super Bowl under then-head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera, will have to make sure if he wants to walk out of Levi’s Stadium with a victory, his offense doesn’t turn the ball over. So far this season, the Panthers have turned the ball over nine times. But the team representing both Carolina states, hasn’t seen great defenses this year. No total disrespect to the Rams and Houston Texans, but can you make a case for every one of their starters on defense to be Pro Bowlers?
Didn’t think so.
Kyle Allen will be facing a pass rush he hasn’t seen before. He’s fumbled the ball six times and lost four of them. That should be enough motivation for the defense to rattle the youngster. Edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford have combined for eight sacks and three forced fumbles. Defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have three sacks each and a combined three forced fumbles. The 49ers secondary is just as hungry for turnovers. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams picked off QBs four times total, including this Sherman pick six in Week 1 against the Buccaneers:
Allen is only 23 years old. He’ll need to play like he’s 32 years old if he wants any chance of beating one of the best defenses in the NFL.