Back like I never left!!! Faithfuls, I have a confession to make! I didn’t do a bold prediction article last week against the Packers because I didn’t want you all to think I was nuts. I had the 49ers dominating this game from start to finish but I didn’t want to put it out to the masses. Turns out, the one article that would’ve been close to correct caused me to pause. But who could blame me? It was the biggest game to date against the toughest opponent to date, right? Well, the pages have turned and we move forward. This week I considered not doing it again because I’m extremely superstitious. I think the team impresses this week as well, but if I post this article, will it come true? Let’s find out…
1. The 49ers Beat The Ravens By Two Scores – and that is if the conditions are clear. If the weather is bad and the field is nasty, I still take the 49ers by 6. I know, Vegas has the Ravens as 6.5 point favorites, but Vegas also had the 49ers as 4 point favorites against the Packers (we won by 29). I expect a dominant performance with a few lapses during the bout, but the 49ers emerge with the W.
2. The Defense Shows Who They Are – at this moment, the 49ers are ranked 2nd in a lot of categories and 1st in the rest. But this week, against the team that beat the Patriots, they will show the world who they really are. It starts up front but it ends in the back. The 49ers will hold the Ravens to less than 100 passing yards but Ingram, Jackson and Co. .will combine for 127 yards rushing. That won’t be enough to get it done against this 49ers team.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo Won’t Throw A Pass That Travels 30 Yards In The Air – the ravens blitz the most in the entire NFL. Coming in at just a hair over 50% of the time. This will be to their own detriment, as Jimmy Garoppolo is very successful with pressure in his face (well, he used to be, but we get back to those days on Sunday). Kyle Shanahan will have a game plan that feeds off the open space vacated by blitzing defenders and the team will be ready to take advantage of it. Because of the blitzing, there won’t be many deep developing routes run during the game.
4. 49ers Lose Out On Special Teams – the Baltimore Ravens have a solid special teams unit and this will be their best weapon all game. In a battle of field position, this could honestly be a determining factor. If all of the 49ers running backs were healthy I wouldn’t be as concerned. With Breida being questionable or out, we expect Raheem Mostert to see an increase in carries. If that happens, expect the 49ers to pull him from special teams and keep his legs fresh. If somehow Breida is healthy enough to suit up, then we can probably ignore this entire segment.
5. Trick Play Alert – this will be completely contingent on weather, so let’s make that clear now. If the rain lightens up, I am confident we see Richie James take a shot down the field. As it turns out, Richie James has been playing in practice as Lamar Jackson. No, he doesn’t have the size, but, he’s got the speed and arm to emulate Jackson. I would go as far to say that James is even faster than Jackson is. If the game is going how I think it will, Shanahan will reward James with a trick play to say “thank you for helping us get this win.” A lot of people don’t know that Richie James previously played QB and is a lefty. The defense will be well prepared thanks to him.
6. The Faithful Show Up In Baltimore – let’s be clear here: the Ravens fan base are a proud bunch. They protect the nest better than almost any bird team in the NFL. I think the Faithful show up and make our presence known! Will it be a “takeover”? Absolutely not! But just like in this game on the field, we will be heard, we will be felt, and when the dust settles, we will be respected!