49ers Week 1 Preview

The draft is done. Minicamp is completed. Training camp is over with and the preseason is now behind us. It’s time for the regular season to begin. The 49ers have a tough match-up this Sunday as they take on the Vikings and their new quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Can Jimmy Garoppolo continue the success he started last season? How will the backfield look now that Jerick McKinnon is out for the season with his ACL injury? Can Alfred Morris reclaim some of that magic he had in Washington when Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator? How will the defense look without Reuben Foster for the first couple weeks? Will Richard Sherman be back to top form after his Achilles injury, or is he just a shell of his former self? There are a lot of questions going into the first week for a team with so much hype following the end of last season.

I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling very confident going into Week 1. I’m not saying that they cannot win; after all, they beat Jacksonville last season who had the number one passing defense in the league. But as Jalen Ramsey liked to point out it was all scheme.

Kyle Shanahan is going to have to scheme the heck out of this game. The Vikings defense and secondary led by Xavier Rhodes is anything but a pushover. Last season they held opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards in 10 different games. They also held opposing running backs to under 100 yards six times. They held the number one scoring offense last season to only seven points. Again, the task will not be easy for the 49ers offense.

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Just as it was with the Jacksonville game last season, look for the tight ends and running backs to receive the bulk of the offense. I expect Kyle Juszczyk will be heavily involved in the passing game. Last season against Jacksonville he had five targets in the passing game. Look for something similar against the Vikings.

Last season the Vikings offense was top ten in scoring and the 49ers defense was bottom five in points allowed. The defense has a big task ahead of them and we don’t know how improved they will be this season. They looked good in the preseason game against the Colts but that was the preseason and the Colts offensive line is very suspect. As much pressure as they put on quarterback Andrew Luck, he was able to squirt free for some big gains.

Kirk Cousins is a mobile quarterback and if the protection breaks down he will be able to run for a first down. The defense will have to keep an eye on Cousins and keep him from getting loose if the protection breaks down.

I’m afraid the 49ers may actually drop this game and go 0-1 to start the 2018 season. I really hope I’m wrong on this one, in fact, I would love nothing more than to be wrong this weekend.

If it ain’t football news, is it worth reading?

Matt Woolsey

Matt Woolsey

Writer San Francisco 49ers Desk at Sports Talk Line
I was a December baby born in 1980. Married to my beautiful bride Jen for the past 15 years, and father of 3. Been a 49ers fan since the days of Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice. I've been playing fantasy football for almost 20 years, been playing dynasty for the past 5 years. All I can say is I love the game.
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Matt Woolsey

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