Good morning folks, the second game of the 49ers season is upon us! The team has their home opener against the Lions in the early afternoon, after a pretty ugly loss in Minnesota to open the year. While the Vikings were likely the toughest game on the schedule for the year, the 49ers have the luxury of pressing the reset button early, against a Lions team that should be easier to handle in every distinguishable phase.
After a forgettable week that was marred by mental mistakes which ultimately cost the team their competitiveness, it’ll be extremely interesting to see if they’ll be able to correct those mistakes and play a cleaner game. Obviously there are no guarantees in any game, but it’s a fairly grounded expectation for the 49ers to be competitive this week if issues like the turnovers and penalties that plagued them the last time out can be minimized.
There are a few spots to really keep an eye on today. The safety corps, which was expected to be a relative strength this season, may have some bumps in the road against the Lions. FS Adrian Colbert is still listed as questionable while he’s been limited through nursing a hamstring injury, and if he’s unable to go, there will likely be a fairly significant drop-off, even if Jimmie Ward gets the start. Compounding matters is the surprisingly slow start that Jaquiski Tartt has had - despite a strong finish to the 2017, he spent much of the Vikings game looking slow and out-of-place.
Speed threat Marquise Goodwin will spend the day on the bench as he recuperates from a thigh injury he sustained in last week’s game. Filling in for him will be rookie Dante Pettis, who had a rather promising debut, despite the ups-and-downs expected of a rookie. The perimeter defenders he’ll face this week should give him less trouble than the star-studded secondary that Minnesota has, but I doubt that he finds himself relied upon as a chain-moving option - George Kittle, and especially Pierre Garcon should have that role covered. I don’t believe that Pettis will see an unusually heavy load of targets, but I’d expect his usage to come primarily in chunk & splash plays.
The offensive line will, again, be point to watch. After losing both starting options at RG and finishing the first week by shuffling rookie RT Mike McGlinchey inside, the team has elected to call up undrafted rookie Najee Toran from the practice squad, and it looks like he’ll be getting the reps with the starting offense. Mike Person, and to a lesser extent, Joshua Garnett, are still considered questionable, so there’s an outside chance that one or the other will be able to perform come game-time, but I wouldn’t count on it. There will be some clarification to this once the inactive list is released later today.
The game begins at 1:05 PST. 18-1 is still in play, folks! Go Niners!
Film review: Week 1 defensive mistakes | Crocker, 4th & 9
Players to watch against the Lions | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
49ers to consider for Fantasy Football purposes | Madson, Ninerswire
George Kittle is putting himself on the map | Biderman, Sac Bee