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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Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images /

No. 3: 49ers will be able to slow down Bengals RB Joe Mixon

Perhaps this is a bit more of an X-factor than a reason why San Francisco wins in Week 14. But if the 49ers end up preventing Bengals running back Joe Mixon from being a massive offensive contributor during the game, they’ll pull off the win.

Early this season, the Niners were susceptible to giving up chunk running plays in between the tackles, but that since has been rectified, although San Francisco is still vulnerable to outside runs and is nevertheless allowing an average of 4.4 rush yards per attempt, 21st in the league.

Few teams enjoy running in between the tackles as much as Cincy, though. And, according to Football Outsiders, 43 percent of its run plays are between the guards and center, more than double any other direction.

Mixon, who’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry this season en route to 978 yards, is just as important to head coach Zac Taylor’s offense as Joe Burrow and the passing game.

Yet the 49ers can hopefully count upon nose tackle D.J. Jones to eat up the middle of Cincinnati’s offensive line, freeing up linebackers Fred Warner and Azeez Al-Shaair to ensure Mixon doesn’t get more than a few yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

In doing so, Burrow will have to pass a lot, allowing pass-rushers like Bosa to pin their ears back to rack up the sack totals.