4 reasons why 49ers beat Bengals in key Week 14 bout

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

56. 6-6. Sunday, Dec. 12. CBS. 7-5. 49ers -1.5. 4:25 p.m. ET. 42

The 49ers don’t want to see another losing streak materialize at this point in the season, meaning their Week 14 game against the Bengals is vital for a win.

Both the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals are on similar trajectories ahead of their Week 14 bout at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Niners and Bengals are both currently in the playoff picture within their respective conferences, yet with the number of teams bunched up and in contention for Wild Card spots, there’s not exactly a lot of room for error.

Both teams have been inconsistent at times, too, stemming either from up-and-down defensive performances, unpredictable offensive outputs and, perhaps most specifically, erratic play from quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Joe Burrow.

Garoppolo and Burrow have both had their plusses and negatives this season, the latter category focusing on turning the ball over. San Francisco is 1-5 when Garoppolo throws an interception, while Cincy has watched Burrow toss a league-most 14 interceptions this season and is 0-4 when he throws two or more in a game.

That might be a reason why the 49ers pull off this road victory, but let’s look at four more reasons why the Niners come away with a win in Week 14.

No. 4: 49ers win because Nick Bosa will terrorize Joe Burrow

In addition to Burrow throwing the NFL’s most interceptions this season, he’s also second in total sacks taken, 36, which is just one behind the league leader in this category, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Football Outsiders ranks Cincinnati’s offensive line 27th in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 8.4 percent, meaning EDGE Nick Bosa should have a prime opportunity to improve upon his team-leading 12 sacks and NFL-leading 16 tackles for a loss.

True, San Francisco hasn’t received too much complementary pass-rushing production behind Bosa this season. But it might not matter, at least if Bosa can wind up being the kind of game-changing X-factor the 49ers fully anticipate he can be.

Bosa might need to take over this game, which will help slow down Burrow’s elite receiving weapons in wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.

And, should Bosa force Burrow into making mistakes, the Niners stand a good shot at winning on Sunday.