The San Francisco 49ers travel to Oakland this Sunday to face the Oakland Raiders. The 49ers embarrassed themselves on national television this past week, losing a 19-3 game to the Seattle Seahawks that at times did not seem that close.
In Week 14, they will face a Raiders squad that was pummeled 52-0 by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams dropped 38 points on Oakland in the first half, and cruised to victory. The Rams have been inconsistent this season, but they have frequently shown they can at least remain fairly competitive. They've beaten the 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks, and come close to beating the Chargers, Eagles and Cowboys. They are not a great team, but they are definitely not a bad team.
In thoroughly stomping the Raiders, the Rams seemed to hit a perfect storm. The Raiders were coming off their first win of the season, an upset of a division rival. A letdown was a strong possibility. And it came against a team that has shown enough that a few turnovers could swing this thing fairly significantly. The Rams put together a strong offensive effort, but five Raiders turnovers were a big key
Which brings us to the 49ers upcoming matchup with the Raiders. The 49ers offense has struggled, and hasn't even really been good enough to qualify as inconsistent. However, the Raiders are really bad. They did beat Kansas City, and they almost beat San Diego the week before, but they are still a bad football team. And the 49ers defense is very opportunistic. The 49ers are second in the NFL in interceptions, and the return of Aldon Smith has boosted their pass rush.
If the Raiders get Latavius Murray back from the concussion protocol, I would think they will try and control time of possession on the ground. However, if they try and force the pass, the 49ers defense could put the offense in a strong position this Sunday. Of course, given what we've seen this season from the latter unit, that does not actually guarantee anything resembling consistent success.
I'm not looking for the 49ers to put up 52 points, but can they at least control the game on both sides of the ball in some form or fashion?