San Francisco 49ers (1-4) HC Chip Kelly has officially closed the door on QB Blaine Gabbert as his starter. A player who was unable to throw the deep ball with pinpoint accuracy, Kelly will now roll the dice on QB Colin Kaepernick. But, how will that fare?
I was asked this very question on ESPN 104.5 The Team (New York), and I made it clear that although Kap may have a few more big plays, don’t expect things to change much as a whole, as he faces a very stingy Buffalo Bills (3-2) defense.
Even the great Steve Young now turned ESPN Analyst believes that Kaepernick will struggle (Watch article above). However, no one really knows for sure until Kap takes the field. He certainly adds the element of surprise due to his dual-threat ability as a runner, and it remains to be seen, how Kelly will take advantage of that skill-set.
The Bills are well coached on the defensive side of the ball. Led by HC Rex Ryan, he will likely take a page out of the Green Bay Packers playbook in using some type of ‘scrape-exchange‘ scheme- essentially cutting off Kap’s mobility off the edge on the zone-read option.
If this happens, it doesn’t bode well for the 49ers offense. Why? Because in turn, the Bills will force the 49ers into being one-dimensional- daring Kaepernick to beat them with his arm. He certainly has the ‘potential‘ to do it. But like I’ve been saying all week long, ‘potential’ doesn’t mean much if you don’t live up to the hype. And Kap will need to put up or shut up on Sunday.
As the 49ers try and do their part, while running behind third-year RB Carlos Hyde, look for the 49ers defense to do theirs as they try and contain All-Pro RB LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy. A player who averages 89.4 rushing yards per game on 5.3 yards per carry, I can’t help but think the 49ers 31st ranked rush defense will struggle for the fifth consecutive time.
Throughout this week, I’ve been told from both the players and coaches that fixing their run defense was a point of emphasis. From missed tackles to missed assignments, 49ers DC Jim O’Neil vows to have cleaned up those mental/physical errors as they hit the road.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, they simply don’t have the horses to keep up down in the trenches, which is why I believe they will struggle in the second-half despite playing a stacked box. The 3-4 nose tackle is of the utmost importance in a team’s odd-man front, and it’s clear NT Mike Purcell is not the answer.
He’s on the ground more often times than not, as interior lineman take out his legs – completely wiping him out from plays. A change is needed. I’m telling you changes need to be made. Kick in DE Quinton Dial or try fifth-round pick DE Ronald Blair. Do something! And until they do, the struggles in the run game will fester.
With the 49ers looking to get back in the win-column, I don’t see that happening this week. A team that made a quarterback change early after only five weeks into the season, I can’t help but think the Bills will come out on top in convincing fashion, winning 24-13.
Sakamoto: 35-18 (Over/Under)
With the total points set at 44.5, I would take the under. I anticipate the Bills scoring no more than 24 points while the 49ers offense will have trouble converting third-downs.
Sakamoto: 32-21 (ATS)
With the 49ers being -8.5 point underdogs, I’m rolling with the Bills. Until the 49ers run defense can show signs of life, it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is on the opposite side, and Shady McCoy should benefit.
Fantasy Football (56/158)
2016: 9 of 15
As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks:
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Carlos Hyde
WR Robert Woods
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