49ers vs. Titans: 4 bold predictions for Thursday Night Football

Anquan Boldin #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Anquan Boldin #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

8-6. NFL Network. 9-5. 8:20 p.m. ET. 49ers -3.5. 42. Thursday, Dec. 23. 35

The 49ers visit the Titans for Thursday Night Football, and Niner Noise offers up four bold predictions for what the outcome will be in Week 16.

If the San Francisco 49ers had to travel east on a short week to play the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football much earlier this season, the Niners would probably lose.

But both teams are case studies of why and how the whole narrative can change over the course of a year, even on a week-to-week basis.

San Francisco, previous losers of four straight games, was eyeing yet another last-place finish within the NFC West, while Tennessee was in line for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture. As of late, though, the 49ers have won five of their last six games, whereas the Titans have dropped three of four.

Yes, things have changed.

There are also some specific matchups and X-factors that could help influence our bold predictions for this Thursday night, too, so let’s jump into those and hope they come true.

No. 4: Jimmy Garoppolo will net 49ers over 300 passing yards

He’s come close over the last four weeks, but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo typically isn’t someone who’ll regularly be asked to throw for more than 250 yards in any one game. Sure, he hit over 295 pass yards in Weeks 13 and 14, respectively, but that 300-yard plateau has remained elusive as of late.

Sure, the Niners’ modus operandi is to run the ball and limit Garoppolo’s pass attempts to no more than 25 per game. But with the Titans allowing opponents to run for an average of just 3.9 yards per carry, fifth best in the NFL entering Week 16, it’ll likely be on Garoppolo to deliver some offense with his arm.

A case study of why this could be effective is the Titans’ Week 12 loss to the New England Patriots where rookie quarterback Mac Jones, arguably a Garoppolo-like quarterback, tossed 310 yards and two touchdowns en route to the 36-13 victory.

Tennessee hasn’t had to face even a moderately decent quarterback in the weeks since, going against the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, meaning Garoppolo will be their biggest test since Jones, who carved Tennessee’s defense up with ease and without being asked to do too much.

Garoppolo should be able to do the same to net 300 pass yards.