San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Week 10 NFL Game Preview
NFL Week 10 Game Information
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Venue: EverBank Stadium – Jacksonville, Florida
This game looked like a good one as soon as the fixtures were announced, and it comes around with even more importance than anticipated. After a flawless start to the season, the 49ers have stumbled in recent weeks, losing three on the trot and in desperate need of a get-right game. The Jacksonville Jaguars have done the opposite, storming to 5 straight wins and now looking to assert themselves as a true Super Bowl contender.
With both teams coming off a bye week, getting a strong start to the second half of the season is going to be crucial. A loss for the 49ers will add more doubt to what is a Super Bowl or Bust season. A loss for the Jaguars will burst the bubble of a five-game winning streak and raise questions as to whether they belong at the big boy table just yet. This is an absolute treat of an early afternoon game, but who will come out on top?
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Game Preview
The 49ers come off their bye week with questions to answer – a situation that no one saw coming after their 5-0 start. Brock Purdy’s incredible story picked up right where he left off last season, cruising with 9 touchdowns and 0 interceptions over the first 5 weeks. He sliced his way through opponents, utilizing the team’s embarrassment of riches on the offensive side of the ball. Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle all took their turns to take over a game and prove what a talent-rich team this is.
The 3 weeks that followed were not so good. Purdy threw just 3 touchdowns and 5 killer interceptions, leading to painful losses to the Browns, Vikings and Bengals. However, considering he is a 7th-round sophomore quarterback, it could be argued that his struggles have been overblown. Purdy still passed for 365 yards against an excellent Bengals secondary and led the team to what could have been a game-winning field goal against the Vikings.
The interceptions are what cost the 49ers dearly, and the Jaguars secondary will still have to be on their toes this week. Thankfully, they come into this game on top form, giving up a sub-80 rating to quarterbacks and registering 11 interceptions. Purdy’s matchup against the Jags secondary will be one of the keys to the game.
Helping the secondary out is Josh Allen, who is enjoying his best season to date. Nine sacks land him tied for 6th in the league and he will be lining up against Colton McKivitz, who has given up 6 sacks already this year. Purdy could be seeing a lot of Allen in his face this weekend.
The other key to the game will be Christian McCaffrey. During the 49ers’ incredible start to the season, McCaffrey averaged 102 rushing yards per game. In the three games they lost, he averaged just 47 yards on the ground. The 49ers benefit from having one of the best play designers in the NFL, Kyle Shanahan. They are a run-first team who utilize Shanahan’s ability to scheme his receivers open. When the 49ers aren’t able to establish the run and generate a lead, more pressure is added onto the passing attack and Brock Purdy, who didn’t pass the test in each of their last three games.
The Jaguars are giving up just 56 rushing yards per game, which could cause problems for the 49ers. That is the blueprint to stopping this explosive 49er offense, matching up perfectly with the Jaguars’ defensive strengths. The question is, can Brock Purdy and Shanahan figure out a solution coming out of the bye?
The big names keep on coming when the 49ers defense takes the field. A pre-bye week trade for Chase Young gives them one of the most star-studded defensive lines in the league. The 49ers were already generating pressure on a regular basis, but just 17 sacks put them in the bottom 10 in the league so far this season. The move for Chase Young could well set that straight, with teams needing to account for both the new recruit and the talent of Joey Bosa all at the same time. When you then add Randy Gregory into the mix, and all of the defensive line talent the Niners already had on the roster, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be collapsing pockets regularly the rest of the way.
Trevor Lawrence has been good this year, but making plays under pressure has been a weak spot for him. His passer rating takes a significant hit when under pressure, also leading to three of his four interceptions. The Jaguars are middle of the pack when it comes to pass protection, so the battle in the trenches is one to keep an eye on.
Travis Etienne has been the main contributor in the Jaguars’ offense. He has been operating in a true bell-cow role for the team, pounding the rock 24 times in the last game against Pittsburgh, in addition to receiving six targets out of the backfield. He has scored 9 touchdowns in the last four games and should see another heavy workload this week against a 49er defense that hasn’t been as stout against the run as in recent years. They are giving up 4.1 yards per carry, despite their elite linebacker duo and beefy defensive line.
The 49ers secondary has also been softer than in recent years. They are giving up 228.9 yards per game, perhaps showing signs of growing pains with new defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks. Wilks has been asked to coach from the sidelines now, preferring to watch from the box in the first half of the season. The Steelers’ took a similar approach with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, before the team put together one of their best offensive showings of the season. Could that snap this 49ers unit back into form?
Either way, the Jaguars should expect big games from their dynamic wide receiver group. Zay Jones might be returning from injury, adding to a fantastic unit that features Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram. Trevor Lawrence should be able to move the ball against the 49ers, suggesting we are in for a box office clash in the early slate of Week 10 games.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Game Prediction
What a game this should be. A searching 49ers team vs a surging Jaguars unit is just what we need to get the Sunday slate going. The 49ers’ bye week came at just the right time, and I think they have just enough talent to pinch this game from the Jaguars. A few awful interceptions felled San Francisco before the bye week, giving Kyle Shanahan a clear indicator of what his offense needs to work on during the week off. The Jaguars’ defense can make life difficult for the 49ers’ offense on the ground and through the air, but keeping a lid on Shanahan’s offensive play calling might be too tough of a task for all four quarters. Trever Lawrence and company should put up some points of their own, but I expect the 49ers to edge out a closely fought-affair here.
A loss for the Jaguars would be disappointing, but would not resign them to pretender status. There is lots to be excited about for Jaguar fans, and a playoff run beckons.
Predicted Score: 49ers 34, Jaguars 31