No. 2: 49ers must stack the box vs. Lions’ D’Andre Swift
San Francisco’s depth defenders did an excellent job against the run during the preseason, but navigating against a tougher Detroit offensive line might be more of a challenge.
And if the Lions’ upfront blockers are doing their run-support duties correctly, it could mean an exceptional debut for second-year running back D’Andre Swift, who’ll be tasked with taking all kinds of pressure off Jared Goff, T.J. Hockenson and a still-questionable Detroit passing attack.
Swift, who averaged 4.6 yards per attempt his rookie season, might have better success this year behind a revamped O-line.
Not if the 49ers have anything to say about it, though.
With a lack of other offensive threats, DeMeco Ryans should be able to afford to cheat up towards the line of scrimmage, an approach made easier knowing Goff isn’t exactly a down-the-field passer, and the Lions lack field-stretching weapons outside of Hockenson anyway.
Six- or seven-man fronts could do plenty of work ensuring Swift doesn’t get anything going on the ground, putting more pressure on Goff to shoulder the load.