I'm not going to lie, we got buried last weekend. If it weren't for a Bo Nix "oh by the way" touchdown to end the game in Auburn, I would have living rent free in sweep-city. Regardless, we must move on, look ahead, and try and get this sinking ship back up to .500. Here Are you're NCAA Week 2 picks.
Army +22 @ Michigan
I know Army looked about as bad as you can in a win against Rice last week, but if you know anything about Meatball, it's that we respect the troops around here. Michigan and "Shea Magic" only beat Middle Tennessee last weekend by 19, and if you think I'm about to bad-mouth the United States armed forces, you've come to the wrong place, pal. If Harbaugh had even an ounce of integrity in his body, he'd concede the game in no contest out of respect. Black Knights cover.
The Pick: Army +22
Rutgers +18.5 @ Iowa
Iowa football is like pouring a concrete walkway . It's slow, really boring, and gets walked over all the time. But in the end, it ultimately gets the job done. Rutgers still being allowed to compete in the Big 10 is an affront to the spirit of sport itself, and while watching this 3-hour sludge-fest is going to be a pain is the ass to watch, 18.5 seems like a bargain for Iowa. I think the Buckeyes run away with this one by AT LEAST three touchdowns against the glorified Ju-Co squad.
The Pick: Iowa -18.5
Texas A&M +16.5 @ Clemson
A week after the Aggies took care of business in their season opener, look for them to put up a good fight against the mighty Clemson Tigers. With two 100 yd rushers last week in Jashaun Corbin and Isaiah Spiller, I'm thinking they try and repeat their success by keeping the ball on the ground, ticking down the clock, and keeping the ball out of the hands of the explosive Clemson offense. The Tigers beat the bricks off Georgia Tech last weekend, but Trevor Lawrence looked like a lesser version of his freshman self, throwing for only 168 yd, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. That may just be him shaking off the cobwebs, but he better come with it against that A&M defense. I think the Aggies keep it close.
The Pick: Texas A&M +16.5
LSU -6.5 @ Texas
Without a doubt the game of the week, this is a make or break matchup for both of these squads. I'm betting with my heart here, because (A) I can't Texas and their dumb fans who say their back even though they haven't been relevant in a decade, and (B) because I think Coach O is a gift from God himself, and that we should consider ourselves lucky for being alive at the same point in human history as that man. As much as I want this to be an absolute house job by LSU, I think this game is going to come down to one or two plays. It's time to call your Granny, 'cuz we're about to thread that needle, baby!
The Picks: Texas +6.5, LSU ML
Stanford @ USC O/U 43.5
With both starting quarterbacks K.J. Costello and J.T. Daniels out with injuries, this has potential to be the grossest game of the year. Both of these teams have good defenses as well as anemic offenses, and I know 43 is a low number, but have no fear. Do not go quietly into the night. Take the under, and don't look back.
The Pick: UNDER 43.5
And as always, Godspeed
Nothing needs to be said. All the yellowbellies out there think week one is the start of the season, but for the Gooch, it's just another day at the office. We're off to a hot 3-1 start thanks to Hawaii showing love to a brotha, and we're looking to keep the train rollin'. Here are you're NCAAF Week 1 picks.
Florida Atlantic +27.5 @ #5 Ohio State
Don't overthink it. Yes, Dwayne Haskins is gone. Yes, Urban Meyer is gone. We know. DON'T BE AN IDIOT. Ohio State's new starter Justin Fields is going to look to start off his Ohio State career on fire. J.K. Dobbins is an absolute beast, and a fresh batch of talented wideouts will help ease the load for Fields.
FAU has no shot. The sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered. The only think I'm worried about here is the fact that Lane Kiffin and that sweet visor are going to be standing on the other sideline. Lord knows he's juiced to be out of hurricane country, but it's week one, and Ohio State needs to lead with their best foot forward under new head coach Ryan Day. Buckeyes dominate mid-majors; I don't make the rules, I just play by 'em.
The Pick: Ohio State -27.5
#11 Oregon +3.5 @ #16 Auburn
The Meatball game of the week... and really the only game worth watching intently the entire weekend. This is Oregon QB Justin Herbert's first stepping stone on the road to the Heisman, and maybe even a potential first-round NFL Draft selection, and his season starts ROUGH on the road against Gus Malzahn and dem boys.
My soul is torn in two at the moment. On one hand, I hate the SEC and everything it stands for: the pageantry, the fanbases, everything. Listen, I'd probably get up for these games too if I had to live in that swampy hellhole for the other 352 days of the year. I count my blessings every day that I live in the crown jewel of western civilization, and don't have to worry about crawly critters or voodoo or shit like that. On the other hand, I hate Oregon, mainly because of their need to constantly change up the uniforms, and also because they definitely don't use their partnership with Nike to illegally recruit players. Never.
Screw it. Auburn by a billion. War Eagle.
The Pick: Auburn +3.5 / 1st half OVER 27.5
Fresno State +13.5 @ USC
This is the Gloria Estefan "Turn the Beat Around" game of the week. Whenever these two get in the ring with each other, there's always something weird in the air, and Fresno likes to give the Trojans a tough game (minus the last time they met when SC won 52-13). Well that ends this week!
Trojans skipper Clay Helton's seat is hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hades, and he's not about to lose his job and the hands of a school that's most famous for their dentistry program and weirdo Derek Carr. I want to see J.T. Daniels to light it up, and connect with senior receiver Michael Pittman Jr. early and often. Also, I'm a huge name guy, and TE Erik Krommenhoek is right at the top of the list. Trojans in a route.
The pick: USC -13.5
As always, Godspeed
If your reading this, that means you've made it out of your six-month football hibernation. I'm proud of you. With baseball grinding to a monotonous halt, Week Zero couldn't have come any sooner, and it's time to get back to chipping away at your ever-growing unit-mountain. This year, I will be your guide to greatness, your liaison to luxury, and your navigator into the nebulous. It's time to take my hand, because football is back. Let's get to the picks.
Miami +7 @ #8 Florida
The 2019 NCAA season kicks off in Orlando as the #8 Florida Gators begin their quest to a national title facing a young Miami Hurricanes team. With all the excitement in the air, this game is sure to bring out the nerves and the jitters for both teams as everyone is trying to shake off the cobwebs. With two vaunted defenses facing off, this matchup will surely be decided by who blinks first.
For Miami, all eyes will be on freshman QB Jarren Williams. In a surprising turn of events, Williams beat out Ohio State transfer Tate Martell as the starting signal caller, and first year head coach Manny Diaz's decision will immediately be tested against a Florida defense that is nothing to slouch at. Miami's strength, however, is their own defense, with nine starting upperclassmen. On the defensive side of the ball, look for senior linebacker Shaquille Quarterman to be flying all over the field and making plays.
The one true question for Miami will be how Williams reacts to the spotlight, especially considering his offensive line, with only one upperclassman in G Navaughn Donaldson up front to protect him.
For Florida, the question will be how their returning starting QB Feleipe Franks deals with the Hurricane pass rush. Franks, who finished 48th in total QBR last season, hopes to build his resume and get a big win in primetime against a Miami defense that may have some holes in their secondary.
Head coach Dan Mullen may have some trouble in the beginning against Diaz's defense, but look for the veteran Florida offense to make adjustments at the half and cruise to a comfortable win.
The Pick: Florida -7 ; First Half under 23
Arizona -11.5 @ Hawaii
The second track to Week Zero have the Wildcats flying down to the islands to face off against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii. Now, I'm going to be honest. I have no idea about either of these teams. Here's what I do know; I know that I think Kevin Sumlin is overrated as a head coach. I know that having a nose-tackle with the first name "Blessman" is absolutely a plus. I also know that if you spend any more than a day in Hawaii, athletic events are something that you don't want to have on the docket.
Arizona is absolutely a better football team team, but there's some magic in the air down in Hawaii. Absolutely no defense shall be played, and I look for Hawaii to upset Arizona in a shootout.
The Pick Hawaii +11.5 ; Hawaii ML +340
As always... Godspeed
If you've been living under a rock in the past few days, I regret to inform you that Kevin Durant has decided to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, teaming up with Kyrie and DeAndre Jordan to *make a run at a title, because that prospect was entirely impossible with the Warriors. Durant, of course, has played a pivotal role for Golden State these past seasons, winning two straight Finals MVP's, and cementing his position as one of the greatest scorers that this game has ever seen. His legacy as a Warrior will be forever unchanged, and Warriors fans have him, in large part, to thank for creating the best basketball team of all time.
But he's gone, and quite frankly, the fan reaction to this has been unbelievably soft.
Durant is a mercenary, plain and simple. Is he one of the best players of all time to don the blue and gold?... yes. But at the end of the day, he got what he wanted. He got his hardware and bailed to go play in New York with his "friends".
I mean can we stop pretending like this guy has been here for a decade? Everywhere on twitter has been "much love KD" this and "good luck" that. No. Good luck? Are you kidding me?
Look, I hope he gets back healthy from his injury and returns to form in two years, but I'm not going to lose any sleep if the guy never wins a playoff series again. As far as I'm concerned, he's now just another player we have to worry about. This isn't Tim Duncan were talking about. He was here for three years, and was the focus of many of the problems within in the locker-room. He chose to play with Kyrie Irving on the Kumbaya Crew for less money, and now we get to see what it looks like when Kevin Durant is the mental alpha of an NBA franchise.
I mean if you're Steph, this offseason has to feel like a gigantic slap in the face. Curry took a back seat VOLUNTARILY in the apex of his prime, handed the keys to Durant, and then had to learn about his departure while boarding a flight to visit him in the hospital.
Kevin, you're mad that Warriors fans cheered louder when Curry makes a three than when you do? What did you think was going to happen? You thought that we would forget about the two-time MVP that brought the Bay it's first title in four decades WITHOUT YOU? You joined a team that had the best record in NBA history, but we should forget all that because you showed up, right?
You want to play with Kyrie Irving instead of Stephen Curry, you got it. If there's any NBA player who's easy-going and avoids the drama at all costs, it's Kyrie Irving.
Joe Lacob... forreal? Lacob announced today in a press release that he's essentially retiring No. 35 in the fallout of Durant leaving. Are we serious right now? You know what, remember when Klay said he thought the crowd wasn't getting as hyped as they did back in the day? This is why. We got fat, and now were retiring the number of a guy who played three years here. You know what, have fun at your new arena Joe. It's Levi's Stadium all over again, and while it'll sure be fun to listen to the pompous indifference of the techies filling the seats at the Chase Center, the rest of us fans will be at home. We Believe, Joe, but now we have some doubts.
*SPOILER; wasn't really going for humor here, more just an off-the-cuff sort of deal.
"Go root for our boys" has become "Get off my lawn."
Wandering, as the mind often does when sitting in truly disgusting amounts of traffic, I found myself thinking about the state of sports media, especially the bleak nature that has befallen some of the regions of the industry.
Stemming from a ridiculous Twitter feud between a certain well known, retired Bay Area sports writer (and, hilariously, his son), and a former major-leaguer over what truly goes on in the mind of an athlete when they get hurt (KD achilles fallout), I couldn't help but feel perplexed by how far the industry of sports writing, especially beat-writing, has fallen.
With the rise of social media and the pure volume of information that the average sports fan can receive in a day just by simply pulling their phone out of their pocket, a new wave of insecurity that has washed over the older generation of established sports writers. There is a realization that the game that they have been taught in media is changing right before their eyes, and there's nothing they can do about it. So, in an effort to stay relevant, writers who sought to find the truth in sports and bring words on a page to life have resorted to online bickering and playground insults.
There will always be a home for quality sportswriting. Professional athletes live some of the most interesting lives of anyone on the planet, and many of their stories and the stories of the teams they play for truly can be truly compelling. Quality writers will always have a place to share these stories and bring light to the lives of athletes that many fans only value selfishly for their own tribalist fan pride. Names like Seth Wickersham, Rick Reilly, Jake Montero, and Dan Le Batard come to mind.
Those writers, however, are unfortunately in the minority.
The beat writer runs on energy, and that energy comes from youth. The drive to find the truth of a story or the facts to in a report leaves no room for complacency. Getting accurate, quality stories out is a young man's game, and when the game is passing the older generation by, a cancerous insecurity rears it's bitter head out.
Instead of forming intelligent remarks and having a dialogue with those who disagree, many of these gasbags use the journalism degree they received 40 years ago as a meat-shield, guarding them from the responsibility to adapt and consider alternative opinions. Many writers never actually played sports at a professional level, and that insecurity, maybe even subconsciously, seeps through in their opinions, as they often favor the authority of their "writing prestige" as opposed to the authority of real-world experience that many athletes-turned-analysts employ.
Look, I would be salty too if my career, after years and years of hard work, never broke through into national recognition. I, too, would be bitter when realizing that I, having written a sports-beat for decades, could easily be replaced by a younger, hungrier writer with little to no visible drop-off. Akin to that entire generation, they have been resting on their laurels for years, complaining how the younger generation needs to pay their dues before they can be taken seriously. Time's up gramps. We'll take it from here.
Adapt or die.
p.s. Writing for The Athletic doesn't make you William f------ Hurst.
Every time one of these idiots get on a TV production set and starts talking out of their ass, it enrages me to a point of no end. I get it, having a "hot take" is all the rage with the kids these days, but good Lord it's getting obnoxious.
The whole goddam storyline this season has been that the Warriors are falling apart from the inside and that at some point this season, it's all going to come crashing down. I can't sit and eat my KIX for three seconds without some moron on TV telling some other dickhead why they think the Warriors won't make the Finals.
When you've been a dominant champion for the last 4 seasons, the sex can get a little boring. Is Draymond's attitude waring on the Warriors front office? Maybe... Is the Warriors bench not the same as it's been in previous years? Sure! Why not... Is KD leaving at the end of the year??? Who gives a shit!
The fact of the matter is that as long as those four guys are on the court and have blood pumping into their right atrium and out of their left atrium, you can write 'em down for another ring... It's just that simple.
Why are we even allowing Dahntay Jones a platform to say words on television. Calling Dahntay Jones an NBA insider is like calling me an NBA insider. I, too, have sat and looked on as other, more talented athletes do things that I could not dream of doing.
The point is... Dubs in 4 'till I rot in my grave.
The King is back. You're welcome.
: So last weekend. 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery charges in the team hotel in Tampa Bay, the night before we played the Bucs. Police reports have come out saying he slapped her and pushed her chest over a disagreement; not a great look. Everyone has heard the story by now, and upon hearing that news, the 49ers promptly released him from the team. While for most of us this would seem like a slam dunk decision to make, there are a few criticizing the choice, saying that the 49ers should wait out the result of this issue.
Look, Foster has had domestic issues, which in fairness have all been resolved, in the past with this same girl, and whether or not anything actually happened doesn't really matter anymore in my opinion. For a guy to claim that he has done nothing wrong, he seems to find himself in trouble all the time, and you can only give a guy so many second chances before he is officially a distraction to the team, no matter how good he is.
Fast forward two days, and he was claimed off waivers by the Washington Redskins. In my opinion, this is a terrible look not only for the Redskins, but for the league as a whole. Let's start with the Redskins.
A team that has been mired in controversy over it's very name has now found itself in hot water on social media over the decision to bring Foster in. There is no doubt that the guy is an absolute stud, but the hypocrisy of the signing is pretty hilarious. Here's a quote from Dan Snyder in 2014:
via @minakimes on Twitter
The one positive thing that can be said in Washington's case is that there are a TON of Alabama defensive players on their team, and there probably wouldn't be another place better suited to watching out and taking care of him. But it does draw to question where the Redskins place their importance.
If you know me, you know that I am not a huge Colin Kaepernick guy. I never had a real issue with the kneeling thing, I just thought he was a bit of a distraction as a backup and wasn't fit to be a starter. HOWEVER, to bring this guy in fresh off an alleged domestic violence incident and not even give Kaep a look when Smith went down is suspect. Instead you sign captain Butt-Fumble and have officially punted on the season. And this brings me to my larger point.
The NFL has a major problem right now. Roger Goodell and his cronies have shown that there is no set guidelines on how to punish players and for what reasons. Ray Rice punches his fiancé in an elevator: 2 games. Tom Brady "deflates" some footballs in a playoff game, a game where they RAN the ball for 177 yds. and 3 TD's winning by 38: 4 games and a fiasco of a trial. Josh Gordon smokes pot 3 times, because God forbid he smokes instead of using opioids: 1 year. Colin Kaepernick kneels during the anthem for a cause he finds just: apparent blackballing and indefinite suspension.
The only reason this guy still has a job is because the owners know that he will bend over backwards to cover their asses when they are obviously only concerned about the money coming into their pockets. We always kind of suspected that, but it is now more apparent than ever.
. I'm usually not the one to jump to these "end of days" conclusions that most of us do when the slightest thing seems to go wrong, and I'm not necessarily doing that right now, but for the first time in the 4 years dominance this team has had, I feel worried about what's going on in the locker room.
It isn't that big of a deal that Draymond Green took the ball with 6ish seconds on the clock and tried to go coast to coast, eventually turning it over as time ran out. The yelling match that Draymond and Durant isn't even that big a deal. The problem is what happened in the locker room after the game ended, with reports coming out after the loss this past Monday that the yelling match continued off the court. According to reports, KD kept repeating to Dray that he should have passed him the ball, which was greeted with being called a "bitch."
Now, I don't know if you've ever been called a "bitch" in anger, but it happened to me once and it's absolutely terrifying. In 8th grade, my parish league basketball team was playing a preseason game against a school from Hunters Point (a rougher part of the city). I stuffed this unwise young lad when he tried to take me to the rack. Now when I stay stuffed, I mean I sent that weak s@$% to the rafters. He was much bigger than me but shockingly bad at the game of basketball (you know the type). I then got a little too over my skii's and exclaimed, "get that weak stuff outta here!" Being embarrassed about getting blocked by a kid 6" shorter then he, the guy turned around in a fit of rage and called me a bitch, and tried to fight me. My face turned white. Picture me: Catholic School kid who's only fighting experience constitutes of playing bloody knuckles and red-belly, 5'9, and probably 130 lbs. soaking wet. This guy could've used me as a selfie stick if he wanted to. Luckily his teammates held him back and the game ended shortly thereafter.
Anyways, I can't even imagine how that sort of experience would go down when you combine the ego and macho that these athletes have. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the emotional leader of the squad calling one of the best players in league the old B-word probably isn't great for morale.
Many reports have come out saying Dray said things like (and I'm paraphrasing here) "You've made this season about you," "We've won before you showed up," and continued to question and bring up Kevin's upcoming free agency decision. This is an absolute nightmare for Steve Kerr and Bob Meyers. In Draymond Green, you have a star in the league that took less money for the betterment of the team, who most likely feels that he goes overlooked with all the greatness on his team. On the other end, you have Kevin Durant, who has shown he doesn't have the greatest emotional toughness and also has had no issue leaving a team to pursue self interest.
After the game Tuesday, Kevin made it clear that he and Draymond haven't communicated since the incident, and wouldn't comment on how their friendship will move going forward. People have even said that Steph has gone to Draymond's house to try and clean up the whole mess. Not a great look, and as I see it, there are three ways I see this going down.
1. The situation figures itself out.
This is the most likely outcome. You have to remember, we are all idiots and have no real idea about the inner workings of NBA teams and how they operate. If you play with a bunch of the same guys for a long period of time, there are going to be bumps in the road, and while this seems to be a giant bump, they are not the first great team to experience frustrations and confrontation, and they certainly won't be the last. Winning fixes everything, and the Warriors do that in spades.
2. Kevin Durant leverages the Warriors into trading Draymond away.
This one really stinks. While it is unlikely, if anyone were to be traded away to alleviate discomfort in the locker room, it would be Dray. While he's been the heart of this team during this championship run, no one with a brain can argue that Green's on-court value is greater than Durant's. While it stings as a Warriors fan, any basketball fan outside of the Bay would laugh at us calling this a tough decision. The Warriors could probably get a nice haul for him, but there would be a question as to if the team would be fractured.
3. The Warriors trade Durant at the deadline.
This is the least likely outcome, and as crazy as it sounds, this is kind of what I want to happen. We have undoubtedly enjoyed this run as a fanbase, but deep down inside of every Warriors fan that has been here since the beginning, we all wanted to see what this team could have done without the slim reaper. We were a Draymond kick in the dick from winning 2 straight titles. Who knows what could have happened from there. Would the Warriors have been more vulnerable to losing to the Cavs the next year? Sure. But it would have been our guys, and seeing the way Steph, Klay and Dray have progressed, more titles would have definitely been a possibility.
Maybe Bob Meyers decides that he doesn't want to wait for KD to make his decision and pulls the trigger on a trade before the deadline. Not only would you get a tremendous haul for Durant, but it would also clear out a TON of cap space to make a move to replenish the bench AND possibly sign DeMarcus Cousins to a multiyear deal.
As of right now, every Warriors fan feels like the 8 year old sitting in the back seat listening to his parents fight on the way to Tahoe. There may only be one man who can fix this:
There is so much to love about this team, and yet I still find myself wanting more. I know we won our first game at home. I know Jimmy Garoppolo put up a clean sheet with 200 yards, 2TD/0INT, and a 118 passer rating. I should be happy… right? I don’t know about you, but there is a tiny part of me that just thinks this team isn’t anywhere near it needs to be. When this offense is humming, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Jimmy G has the unique ability to absolutely pick apart any secondary when are the pieces are falling into place, but it seemed that once this team found it’s lead last week being up 30-13 early in the fourth quarter, they took their foot off the gas and allowed this Detroit Lions team (which is decidedly not good) to get right back in the game. And if it weren’t for a questionable defensive holding call on the opposite side of the field, the interception Garoppolo threw would have counted, and the 49ers would most likely be rolling into this week 0-2. This team feels like one of those teams that is going to play to it’s competition, which is a dangerous habit to develop. That being said, we’re on to Kansas City, and there’s a lot to be excited about.
Barring the last half of the 4th quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo pitched a great game, spreading the ball around to 8 different receivers and amassing a modest yet effective 206 yards. And when your team in total collects 190 yards on the ground on only 28 carries, it makes playing the quarterback position that much easier. Speaking of the ground game, Matt Breida made a strong case for being the horse for this team, running for 138 yards on 11 carries, highlighted by a key 66 yard touchdown. Alfred Morris also made key contributions, rushing for 48 yards and receiving for 32, making him an interesting flex option in deeper fantasy leagues, especially this week against the porous Kansas City defense. Pierre Garcon continues to be consistent with his 57 yards, and if Goodwin can be back this week, he should help free up some room over the middle for Garcon.
Injuries have seemed to take a beating on this team early on. Good news is Richard Sherman has been taken off the DL list suring up the cornerback position. Bad News? As stated before, Goodwin and safety Jaquisky Tartt are still listed as questionable. The secondary got lit up last week, towards the end of the game especially, so Tartt being out could prove to be a fatal blow against the high octane Chiefs offense. Guard Joshua Garnett has also been listed as out, which hurts considering Garoppolo was sacked 6 times (he needs to get rid of the ball if there’s nothing there).
However, HUGE news this week is that not only will Reuben Foster be back from his 2-game suspension, but also former Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith will be making his 49ers debut. These two along with the help from Fred Warner and Cassius Marsh could prove to be huge in containing the volatile Mahomes experience.
On the flip side, the Andy Reid led Chiefs are coming into this game absolutely red hot, and no one seems to have an answer for this offense. Mahomes has thrown for 582 yards and a laughable 10 TDs, and Kareem Hunt has rushed for a respectable 124 yards. Tyreek Hill is also making it look like a video game on the field with almost 260 yards receiving over 2 games. An interesting note however is that over 2 games, only 3 players on have more than 3 receptions on the season, yet 7 players have caught TDs. They like to get the big bomb with Hill and Sammy Watkins, but inside the redzone, look for Mahomes to target unlikely characters to hit paydirt. Defensively, this team has for the most part has been horrific. They are last in the league in yards allowed with over 1000, 29th in points allowed, and are tied for second to last in the league in sacks with 2.
The key to this game for the 49ers is going to be controlling the ball and time of possession. If this game turns into a track-meet, we simply don’t have the horses to keep up. Making this game one dimensional is also a major key. Eliminate the ground game and hope that the young QB can make some mistakes. This game can get out of hand very quickly, so it’s imperative to get Jimmy going early dunking and diming. The weather is going to be gorgeous in KC, so it’s going to be on the 49ers to drag the Chiefs into the mud and make this an ugly contest.
Faithful Then, Faithful Now.
After an exceptionally disappointing Week 1, the 49ers are poised to get off the canvas and bounce back this week in their home opener against the Lions. After getting absolutely knocked in the mouth by the Minnesota Vikings, they hope that the Lions can be a reprieve and will look to get back on track to being the team that so many fans expected them to be. Here is Your Week 2 49ers preview.
No one will say that Jimmy G got off to a good start last week, and while 261 yards and 1TD/3INT is never great, there was a lot to be optimistic about. Not only did we see the emergence of Dante Pettis as an important target for Garoppolo, but also the continuation of the surprise dominance of George Kittle. A major question mark was the run game. On 25 carries, the 49ers were only able to produce 90 total team rushing yards (24th in the NFL). Gotta remember though, the Vikings are bonafide Superbowl contenders. We do have to tamper our expectations offensively, but you have to think: we lost by 8 to an elite team on the road and had a chance to win it at the end. There’s a lot to be happy about.
And make no mistake about it, the Lions are not the Vikings. They gave up 349 yards in their home opener against a rookie QB. Not a great look. If they let Sam Darnold give ‘em 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, it should be normal to expect a lightshow from Garoppolo for the first time this season in front of his home fans. One notable loss, however, is Marquise Goodwin. He didn’t have a great game before getting a mean charlie-horse, but it can’t be overstated how important he is to this offense. His ability to stretch the field is crucial for how Jimmy G dunks and dimes, so Dante Pettis has some big shoes to fill. Guards Josh Garnett and Mike Person are still listed as questionable, hopefully one of them can suit up so we don’t have our 1st round tackle playing guard again.
As for the defensive end, you have to be happy with the result last week. Kirk Cousins did exactly what he was brought there to do. He managed the game to perfection and didn’t turn the ball over. Dalvin Cook seemed to be able to get anything he wanted on the ground, even if he didn’t have a monster game, but you have to be pleased with the linebacker play last week. Fred Warner is a beast, and even with the loss of Brock Coyle who will be out this week, Elijah Lee made a solid contribution off the bench. Deforest Buckner is going to be an absolute monster this season, and the Lions weakened offensive line is going to get cut up by him and Solomon Thomas.
The Lions are in a tough spot. Not only are they trying to pick up the pieces from the shellacking the Jets gave them, but they’re also on the road against a team that realizes they pretty much need to win this game. A lot of people are talking about how trash Matt Stafford is and how easy this game is going to be. Granted, Stafford had maybe the worst game of his career, but the guy has thrown for 4000 yards each of the last 7 seasons. He’s a stud, make no mistake about it, and if the 49ers secondary gets caught sleeping on him, he will light them up.
ENCOURAGING STAT OF THE DAY: The last 9 times the lines have traveled to the west coast for an afternoon game, they’re 2-7. I can see this game being a shootout; let’s hope we have the firepower.