Andrew York of Hogs Haven joined me to talk about one X-Factor heading into the 49ers road game against Washington. As we get closer to the game, we’ll also talk about what will happen on both sides of the ball, one player nobody is talking about, as well as a game prediction. We’ll keep it to the X-Factor today.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a big game for Redskins safety Landon Collins. He’s been a tackling machine near the line of scrimmage, and I think he will make the difference in combating the Shanahan zone running scheme. On offense, I think WR Terry McLaurin will be critical to keeping the passing game alive. However, the real X-factor in the game maybe head coach Kyle Shanahan’s dislike of the Redskins for their handling of him and his father Mike Shanahan while they were coaching the Skins. A lot of Redskins fans think Kyle will really want to run up the score and embarrass us.
On defense, I’m going with Jimmie Ward. He was great in coverage against the Rams, and that should continue this week against Washington. Ward has done an excellent job tackling in the open field and preventing big plays. Ward is also the best slot corner on the roster for my money, and if McLaurin moves inside, I’d feel comfortable with Ward guarding him. McLaurin is a big-play threat, and the lone weapon Washington has that could hurt San Francisco consistently down the field. Ward is also the teams’ free safety, and I feel like we’ll see Case Keenum and company take shots down the field. San Francisco hasn’t been tested deep very often, so Ward being able to limit those passes will be key as well.
It’s weird to call the quarterback an X-Factor, but I’m going with Jimmy Garoppolo on offense. The 49ers QB has played very well under pressure this season and on third down. Those are two of the most critical factors for the position. He’s not making flashy plays that will make the highlight reels, but he’s putting the 49ers in position to score. That’s what you want.
Who are your X-Factors for Sunday’s game?