Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds previews the upcoming Bucks game with six quick-hit topics. What’s at stake for the Bucs and their opponents, what could lead to a win or loss for Tampa Bay, and some key matchups to watch each week.
In Week 10, the 4-5 Bucks defeated the Titans 20-6, ending a four-game losing streak. The 6-3 49ers looked dominant once again, ending a three-game losing streak with 34 wins. 3 Jaguars disbanded.
What’s at stake for the Bucks?
Tampa Bay just snapped a four-game losing streak as Atlanta and New Orleans also lost on Sunday. The Falcons have lost three straight since defeating the Bucs 16-13 at Raymond James Stadium and are currently in third place in the division after taking first place in the NFC South with a win over Tampa Bay. The Saints currently lead the division with a 5-5 record, with the Bucks (4-5) just a half-game behind.
The Bucks are not expected to win in San Francisco, but And probably not. But with four divisional games coming up in the final six games of the season, Tampa Bay could still remain decent even with a loss to the 49ers at 4-6. If they lose, the Bucks will likely have to finish at 9-8 and vie for the last spot in the wild-card playoffs, or end up with a record of 5-3 or better to compete for the division title. means. A 6-2 record would put Tampa Bay in a good position at 10-7, but the Bucs have yet to show the ability to win that consistently this season.
What’s at stake for the 49ers
The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 34-3 in Jacksonville, ending a three-game losing streak after the bye week. With the win, San Francisco improved to 6-3 and tied with Seattle 6-3 for first place in the NFC West. The 49ers have the third-best record in the NFC behind the Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) and the Detroit Lions (7-2), tied with the Cowboys (6-3), but ahead of Dallas. holds the right to a direct tiebreaker. In Week 5, they won 42-10.
San Francisco is heavily favored against Tampa Bay by a double-digit margin and should be able to rack up another much-needed conference win against an NFC team. The 49ers defeated the Bucks 35-7 last year, and this year could be another close game against a less talented Bucks team. San Francisco needs to extend its winning streak, like the five-game winning streak that began the 2023 season, especially with two games against the division rival Seahawks looming within the next four weeks.
If the Bucks win…
It will take a huge feat for the Bucks to defeat the highly anticipated 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Let’s be honest: San Francisco has a more talented roster and a better coaching staff. For the Bucs to win, they will need to play error-free football and bring their “A” level game to the West Coast, but I’m sure the 49ers will take them too lightly and hope they play at the “C” level.
Baker Mayfield will have to survive this opportunity with multiple touchdowns and no turnovers, and the Bucs defense will have to force Brock Purdy into a few interceptions. The Bucks missed at least three draft picks on Will Revis last week and only ended up drafting him once. It feels like Tampa Bay needs to hold San Francisco to 23 points or less to have a chance at winning. This is easier said than done, and capturing sales margins appears to be essential to, and to a large extent, having any chance of winning.
In retrospect, the 49ers’ three losses were actually against a pretty good team. Minnesota, Cleveland and Cincinnati all have winning records. San Francisco has a lot of veterans and is a seasoned team. The Bucs will have to pull out all the stops and find unconventional scores on trick plays, defense and special teams to have a chance to score in what will be one of the NFL’s biggest upsets of the year.
If the 49ers win…
The magic number for the 49ers is 30 points. San Francisco is 5-0 this season when it scores 30 or more points. In the 49ers’ three losses, the team hasn’t even surpassed 17 points. San Francisco’s three-game losing streak before the bye week proved the 49ers can’t just go out there and win. That message finally seemed to get across in Jacksonville’s 34-3 win over the Jaguars last week.
San Francisco’s defensive line was strengthened with the addition of Chase Young in a trade. The 49ers have the ability to simply rush four defenders and create pressure without blitzing. That means they could try to drop seven coverages, make life difficult for Baker Mayfield, and force him to throw a pick or two. The 49ers will likely double-cover Mike Evans all day, replacing Mayfield with Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer and Cade Otton.
The 49ers’ offense is incredibly balanced thanks to running back Christian McCaffrey, who rushed for over 100 yards in last year’s 35-7 win over Tampa Bay. McCaffrey finished off the Bucs as a runner with 119 yards and a touchdown, as well as a receiver with two catches for 34 yards and another score. Whether it’s a route out of the backfield or a screen game, McCaffrey is waiting for either a first down or a touchdown to happen. With tight end George Kittle and receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, Brock Purdy has plenty of weapons to choose from on a down-in, down-out basis.
Key matchups for the Bucks’ offense
Bucs offensive line vs. 49ers defensive line
Tampa Bay has a very good pair of offensive tackles in Pro Bowler Tristan Wirfs and Luke Goedeke, the team’s most improved player from a year ago. Wirfs has been dealing with a thigh injury and has struggled a bit over the past few games. In other words, he wasn’t dominant, just very good. In fact, Goedeke has outperformed him in recent weeks.
Wifs and Goedeke will have to play their best game of the year against the 49ers’ new bookend pass rushers at defensive end, Nick Bosa and Chase Young, who were just acquired in a trade with Washington a few weeks ago. It won’t happen. The 49ers have an embarrassingly rich defensive line with three former first-round picks in Bosa, Young and defensive tackle Arik Armstead, plus a big-name free agent addition in Javon Hargrave. . Bosa and Hargrave are tied for the team lead with 4.5 sacks each, while Armstead has three sacks.
However, it’s Interior’s offensive line that has always been an underdog for Tampa Bay. The guard duo of Aaron Stinney and Cody Mauch struggled against Tennessee’s formidable defensive line last week, as did center Robert Hainsey. The trio has struggled to open holes in the run game and is mediocre at best in pass protection, but Stinney is a slight upgrade over left guard Matt Feiler. Notice how San Francisco’s defensive line asserts itself from the get-go, scores points, and continually puts pressure on Baker Mayfield.
Key matchups for the Bucks’ defense
Bucs LBs Lavonte David and Devin White vs. TE George Kittle and RB Christian McCaffrey
Todd Bowles decided to play to Devin White’s strengths against the Titans, blitzing him more often. As a result, White was fired again and given a better day at the office. Because it is better for him to go forward than to go backwards. That means he’ll be lower in coverage.
However, the 49ers have two legitimate Pro Bowl weapons in tight end George Kittle and running back. Christian McCaffrey Coach Bowles will likely have to drop White and Lavonte David more than he would like because nickel cornerback Christian Isien and strong safety Ryan Neal cannot be trusted in coverage.
Kittle and McCaffrey both scored a 66-yard touchdown from a playmaking tight end last week against Jacksonville, and McCaffrey has a 35-yard touchdown catch and a 65-yard run this year. As you can see, he has amazing speed. Gained 51 yards early in the season. David and White will need to be better in coverage than they have been in the past, especially when it comes to picking off passes. David hasn’t thrown an interception in three years, and both he and White dropped interceptions in last week’s win over the Titans.