San Francisco @ Tampa Bay
Recommendation: SF pick em
Cover Probability: 53.66%
Cover Edge: 2.26%
San Francisco 49ers:
-RB Jerrick McKinnon (knee) is on season-ending IR.
-C Weston Richburg (knee) is limited in practice.
-DE Nick Bosa (ankle) is limited in practice.
-CB K’Waun Williams (knee) is limited in practice.
-CB Jason Verrett (ankle) is limited in practice.
Tamap Bay Buccaneers:
-WR Mike Evans (illness) is QUESTIONABLE for week 1.
-S Justin Evans (Achilles) is OUT for week 1.
When San Francisco has the ball:
When you lose your starting running back (Jerrick McKinnon) before the season starts, starting QB (Jimmy Garoppolo) to an ACL tear week 3, and all 3 of your starting receivers, usually bad things happen. The 49ers finished with 4 wins, the bright spot of the season being when some guy named Nick Mullens played QB and beat the Raiders 34-3 on Thursday Night Football.
It’s time to hit reset. Jimmy G is healthy again, and handsome as ever.
WR Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis are both healthy as well, as is TE George Kittle, who despite the madness that was 2018 somehow set the record for receiving yardage for a tight end. Jerrick McKinnon had a set back with his knee and will miss all of 2019, but the 49ers have running back depth (they better, as they’ll take on a 20.4 million dollar cap hit on running backs, $3 million more than any team). They’ll lean on newly acquired Tevin Coleman to start, but will also look to tough-as-nails Matt Brieda to garner some workload.
As for their line, it’s anchored by LT Joe Staley, who earned a PFF grade above 80 in each of the past 7 seasons, and is the only LT in the NFL to earn pass and run blocking grades above 70 in each of the past 3. On the other side of the line is Mike McGlinchey, who struggles horrible in pass protection (he allowed 39 pressures on 632 snaps last year), but excels in the run game. Laken Tomlinson will take on left guard duties and should do well to keep Jimmy G upright. The biggest questions come at center — Weston Richburg is often injured, and right guard Mike Pearson, who simply wasn’t good last year.
Tampa’s defense, ohh Tampa’s defense. They finished last year dead last in defensive DVOA, and then let LB Kwon Alexander walk in FA, and he signed with the 49ers (REVENGE GAME!!!). DT Gerald McCoy? Gone. They brought in Jason Pierre-Paul, but a May car crash left him with a fractured neck. They were able to bring in Ndamukong Suh, but he had a down year with the Rams last year (hence why he isn’t on the Rams anymore). The end result? A defensive line that will start Carl Nassib (27 pressures on 346 snaps) and Shaquil Barrett (13 total pressures on 127 snaps) at edge, with Suh and Vita Vea on the interior (if he can play). It gets a bit better at linebacker, where they’ll return LeVonte David and drafted Devin White 5th overall.
The defensive backfield, however, is flat out ugly. Vernon Hargreaves is their top corner, I guess? he has 1 INT in 26 games. MJ Stewart, Carlton Davis, and Jordan Whitehead are all projected to start, they collectively had 11 passes defended last year– Stephon Gilmore had 18 by himself. If you got a QB coming back from a torn ACL, you pray to the scheduling gods that you get a matchup like the Bucs to start the year.
When Tampa Bay has the ball:
When a team wins 5 games, usually that means coaching turnover. Tampa is no different, bringing in Bruce Arians as HC and Byron Leftwhich as OC. 2018 was an up and down mess for Tampa offensively, where they played hot potato with two incredibly inconsistent quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick and his very sexy beard has moved onto South Beach, so now it’s all on Winston. How will Winston do in this one is anybody’s guess, he’s equally capable of putting together a game with a 73.2% completion percentage and 4 TDs (like he did against the Falcons week 6) as he is completing 51.4% of his passes and throwing 4 picks (like he did against the Bengals week 8).
Winston does have weapons, including all-pro, 6’5″ WR Mike Evans. Behind Evans is Chris Godwin, who has put up absurd numbers when given the opportunity, an TE OJ Howard. Winston will need to rely on these guys big time, as the Bucs have an abysmal offensive line and zero running game. I’m not even going to write out their names. Moving on.
San Francisco has a new look defense, that includes DE Dee Ford, who broke out in 2018 with an absurd 84 pressures and 16 sacks. Next to Ford will be 2nd overall selection Nick Bosa. Erik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Solomon Thomas should all get significant playing time in the interior. Buckner has missed 1 game in his 3 year career and racked up 12 sacks last year. Thomas has only 4 sacks in the last two years despite starting 25 games. Armstead has frequently been injured before starting every game last year, but had nothing to show for it.
The 49ers defensive backfield is a mess. They still have CB Richard Sherman, who continues to stick to the left side. As was his days in Seattle, teams simply throw away from him. The problem is Seattle had the “Legion of Boom,” a serious of studs in the backfield. The 49ers have (*checks notes*) nobody else.
We’ll see if Winston can take advantage of that.
That’s it for now, bitches.