With all the buzz surrounding quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots fifth ranked passing offense, it’s difficult to gauge whether the San Francisco 49ers’ offense can match up. They have been streaky all season and to think they will beat the Patriots on Sunday is questionable. However, should the 49ers find themselves in a shootout, I believe that will play in their favor!
First, it relieves all pressure on 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick to win the game. If the Niners find themselves down 17-0 in the first quarter, it will now be a game of catch up. If that’s the case, look for Kaepernick to run the no huddle offense. By switching to a hurry-up offense it allows Kaepernick to read the defense and make the necessary adjustments at the line of scrimmage. The kid has a cannon for an arm and it will definitely be showcased if the Niners are playing from behind.
Second, by creating a shootout, the Niners will actually play into their strengths. With Kaepernick running the show, he will have the luxury of going against the 29th ranked pass defense. The Patriots don’t have any top flight cornerbacks on their roster and the fact that the 49ers have three solid receivers in Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, and Randy Moss makes this a favorable match up. Furthermore, the Patriots linebackers often over-pursue on run downs, so look for the Niners to utilize the play-action pass to tight end Vernon Davis to help keep the defense honest.
Subsequently, by forcing a shootout, that will put pressure back on New England to win the game, especially if it’s close. The Patriots are heavy favorites, with most Vegas lines at -5. If the 49ers defense can stall a few drives late in the game, the Patriots will lose. The Patriots game-plan is simple, score at will. If the 49ers can beat them at their own game that will be a huge momentum changer in Foxboro, and their ultimate downfall.
If the game goes to a shootout, look for the 49ers to come out on top 38-35.