This evening the San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) will battle the New England Patriots (10-3-0) in a game that could decide when and where the NFC West will be won. Coming off of a decisive victory over the Miami Dolphins, The 49ers will be looking to extend their win streak to two games.
Starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick will go head to head with Tom Brady, and if his play against Drew Brees was any indication, he may just have an edge. Kaepernick is a highly mobile quarterback with a strong arm and several weapons at his disposal.
Conversely, Tom Brady is a huge pocket presence, and while his arm, ability, and weapons are unquestionable, his unwillingness to be mobile leave him at risk against a strong pass rushing defense like San Francisco.
San Francisco’s defense is a power house, leading the league in most categories, including overall defense. At the heart of the Niner defense is their linebacker corps, who not only stop the run with deadly precision, but as proven by Aldon Smith, get to the quarterback with amazing efficiency.
Aldon Smith leads the league in sacks with 19.5 and is looking at breaking the single season sack record of 22.5, on the back of Tom Brady, or at least by putting Brady on his back.
The New England Patriots are a strong team, and will test the 49ers on every down. Tom Brady is the quarter back who started the “elite” conversation and he can pick apart a defense in ways most quarterbacks just can’t. The Patriots defense, while it has its problems, is not to be trifled with and will be pressing the 49ers offense with a decent pass rush and solid run defense.
Turnovers could very well decide this game for both teams, if Brady gets careless and throws interceptions, the Patriots defense will be hard pressed to get off the field. Similarly, if Colin Kaepernick shows his inexperience and gives the ball up, Tom Brady and the Patriots explosive offense could make the 49ers pay dearly for it.
At the end of the day, this game is going to be decided by whose defense stops whose offense more effectively, as both offenses have explosive scoring ability. San Francisco’s defense definitely has the advantage in that category, and expectations are high for a strong defensive showing.
Chances of this game being a low scoring, defensive battle, are just as good as for this game being a high scoring offensive shootout. The line from Vegas has the Pats as the 4 point favorites.
My prediction: San Francisco-27, New England-24