49ers football is back and here’s what you need to know for tonight’s matchup!
1) Time – 7:20 Pacific Time on ESPN
2) Andrew Tiller is likely to start at Right Guard
Anthony Davis practiced with the team yesterday and looks like he will be the backup swing tackle tonight. The 49ers have a number of good guards and as long as Trent Brown works out at right tackle, the offensive line should still be a strength tonight. The Rams front four will provide a major test as Aaron Donald is one of the top linemen in the NFL.
3) Carlos Hyde will need to be effective
If the 49ers are to win tonight, Carlos Hyde will need to take the pressure off of Blaine Gabbert as the 49ers try to keep Todd Gurley off the field.
This again, starts upfront. Look for Hyde to get somewhere close to 20 carries tonight.
4) How will the Front Seven handle Todd Gurley?
This is the big question. If Gurley has his way with the 49ers’ defense, the Rams will likely win. NaVorro Bowman and company faced this last year when Adrian Peterson came to town and they held him to around 30 yards. That may or may not happen this time, but one thing is for sure. If the 49ers are to stay competitive, containing Gurley is a must.
5) The Secondary will need to step up
Keith Reaser and Chris Davis are likely out and Will Redmond has been placed on IR (and could return later in the season). Jimmy Ward could be moved to nickel which would mean that Rashard Robinson could have a major role, according to Matt Maiocco.
The Bottom Line
If the 49ers are to win, they will need to have an effective ball-control offense with Carlos Hyde and Mike Davis running well. The offensive line will need to control the line of scrimmage and Blaine Gabbert will need to lead a short passing attack to keep the Rams off balance.
On defense, they will need to get after Case Keenum and limit Todd Gurley. A lot will depend on whether or not Arik Armstead and Glenn Dorsey are active tonight.
The game will likely be decided by which quarterback handles the blitz and doesn’t turn the ball over.