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.