The SF 49ers visit the Patriots in Week 7, and Jimmy Garoppolo going against his old team is only one of these five key matchups to watch.
There’s naturally going to be a lot of talk about SF 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo making his return to Gillette Stadium to face his old head coach, Bill Belichick, and the team that brought him into the NFL, the New England Patriots, as the Niners prepare for their Week 7 road bout.
At 2-3, the first season for the Pats in the post-quarterback Tom Brady era, it’s fair to assume things haven’t gone entirely right for Belichick and Co. Despite landing quarterback Cam Newton on a cheap free-agent deal just before the regular season, New England’s offense remains the league’s 25th scoring offense over the first six weeks. As it was last year, wide receiver production has been a problem for the Patriots outside their top receiver, Julian Edelman, and the offense is managing just 6.2 yards per pass play — 22nd in the league.
Yet the Pats don’t play in a rough-and-tough NFC West and still find themselves in contention for the AFC crown despite the sub-.500 start.
San Francisco, 3-3 after its upset win over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday, is hoping it can get out of the NFC West basement, and pulling off yet another upset, this time on the road, would be another crucial step in doing so.
But games are ultimately won or lost by the ability to properly exploit matchups. Belichick and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan are arguably the two best in the league at doing this, making this Week 7 contest one to watch in particular.
These five matchups will be key to the game’s outcome, starting off with the quarterbacking battle between Jimmy G and Newton.