Week 12 – Opponent Preview – San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
Thursday- THANKSGIVING – November 24th, 8:20pm
San Francisco boasts 9-1 record for a reason, they run the ball well and play excellent defense. First year head coach Jim Harbaugh is in the running for coach of the year having changed the mentality of the defense, improved the offensive rushing attack, and revitalized the career of QB Alex Smith. San Francisco has disproved the notion that a west coast team traveling east can’t win. The team had road victories in Detroit, Washington, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. This will be a physical match-up on Thanksgiving night.
The offense can dominate games with their rushing attack led by Frank Gore (4.6 yard average, 870 yards, 5 TD’s). The unit ranks 6th in rushing yards (134.2). Alex Smith only has 4 interceptions on the year, with 14 TD’s. Smith been more that just a “manager” of the game, he’s getting the ball to his playmakers in WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis (5 TD’s, 11.4 yards per rec.). Crabtree is heating up, he is coming off a productive game: 7 rec. for 120 yards. The offense ranks 27th in passing yards (188.3)
The 49ers defense is best against the run and stingy allowing points; ranking 1st in rushing yards allowed (73.9 ) and 1st in points allowed (14.5). Notables on defensive are LB Patrick Willis, ILB NaVorro Bowman, OLB Ahmad Brooks (6 sacks) DE Justin Smith (4.5 sacks), and rookie LB Aldon Smith (7.5 sacks) The secondary is ranked 23rd versus the pass (249.2) and CB Carlos Rogers is having one of his best seasons with 5 interceptions. The unit forces turnovers and apply pressure to opposing QB’s: 15 forced fumbles (11 recovered), 15 interceptions and 25 sacks.
The Ravens Special Teams coverage must also account for receiver/kick returner Ted Ginn, averaging 29 yards per kickoff return and in week 2 he had a 102 yd. TD return.
RB Frank Gore vs. Ravens Front 7: The 49ers are a physical rushing team. Running back Frank Gore is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and the offense ranks 6th in rushing yards at 132.4 per game. Ravens are ranked 5th versus the run (93.2 yards per game).