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Golden Nuggets: Which 49er needs to step up over the final six games?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

We’re still a day away from San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan speaking about the nine players who are currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. We’ll also have an idea of which players are returning from injury when practice resumes Wednesday.

49ers’ best chance at playoffs is passing Rams in NFC West

They are holding onto slim playoff hopes with six games remaining in the season.

With little room for error, the 49ers simply cannot afford to lose Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams. This is, truly, the first of what figures to be a string of must-win games.

Or, frankly, it could signal the 49ers’ last meaningful game of the season.

The 49ers remain mathematically alive. Realistically, a back-to-back trip to the playoffs appears highly unlikely.

The most logical way for the 49ers to get out of fourth place is to overtake the Rams, whom they have already beaten once this season for their only intra-division victory.

49ers stat leaders at Bye week reflect up-and-down 2020 season

Kittle receptions: 37

This would probably belong to Brandon Aiyuk if the rookie hadn’t missed a game while on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Aiyuk is just two behind Kittle for the team lead and figures to overtake him for good with Kittle possibly out for the year.

Kittle receiving yards: 474

All of the Aiyuk stuff from the receptions category applies here as well. The rookie receiver is just 28 yards behind Kittle for the team lead and should get there in his next game.

SF 49ers: 5 players who must step up over final six games

No. 4: SF 49ers Linebacker Dre Greenlaw

But the Pro Football Focus analytics suggest otherwise, giving Greenlaw a 49.0 overall grade — a 15-point drop in the impressive 64.0 mark he enjoyed during his rookie season.

Greenlaw has often been a step or two behind in coverage this season, and his efforts against the run have translated into a lowly 40.1 run-defense grade, per PFF.

While San Francisco’s run defense has been good enough overall, getting Greenlaw into his 2019 form will be essential for the SF 49ers to ensure an above-.500 mark for the rest of the regular season.

Ranking the Top 5 Quarterbacks in 2021 NFL Draft

2. Kyle Trask, Florida.

Seems like the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Plays in the SEC and faces lots of pressure when the throws from the pocket, and seems to thrive under pressure. Trask is big, tough, accurate and mobile enough. He reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger. He would be a perfect fit for the 49ers offense, and they should draft him if he’s available. He may not be available if he wins the Heisman.

Jerry Rice compares 49ers-Rams to a ‘playoff game,’ identifies areas Kyle Shanahan must improve

“They have to look at that game — and I’m calling it right now — that game is a playoff game, guys,” Rice told the hosts of The Morning Roast. “That’s the way the Niners gotta look at that game coming up.”

“I think the most important thing for Kyle Shanahan right now is to get that running game going. He has to get that going, and the efficiency of the offensive line. They’ve got to get going.

“Then, when you think about Nick Mullens, they have to put him in a position where he can win. … [Shanahan has] got to build confidence in Nick Mullens.

“But this is a rival. It’s time to go right now. And if you don’t make a stand right now, it’s pretty much over.”