It’s that time of the week where we make bold predictions, you say how far-fetched they are, and we circle on Sunday and talk about how each happened. So without further ado, let’s get into our three bold predictions for Sunday’s playoff-like game between the 49ers and Vikings.
Kirk Cousins matches his interception total for the season
We can acknowledge that Cousins has played well while also discussing how he’s had some good luck in his favor. Cousins' 21-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio rivals what you’d see in a video game.
When you consider that Cousins (11) has one fewer turnover-worthy pass than Jimmy Garoppolo (12) this season, that paints more of an accurate picture. However, add in Packers’ safety Darnell Savage caught three passes from Cousins last week, and each was negated; this prediction no longer looks as bold as it does on the surface.
Tipped passes at the line of scrimmage, Fred Warner getting his first interception of the season, and the cornerbacks winning a 50/50 ball will be how this comes true.
Brandon Aiyuk has a career-high in receiving yards
Saying Brandon Aiyuk would go over 100 yards for the first time isn’t bold enough. Let’s take it to another level and say this week he has a career-high in receiving yards. Now, he doesn’t have to have a 200-yard performance or anything, as Aiyuk’s career-high is 119 yards. He tops that figure Sunday.
All week, Kyle Shanahan and Aiyuk have read about Justin Jefferson — the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Earlier this week, Shanahan said that Jefferson was already one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
This week, Shanahan goes out of his way to get the ball to Aiyuk down the field, which is a change from what we’ve seen. That’s been the case early in the past couple of games, but the look wasn’t there to get the ball to Aiyuk.
I’m expecting a couple of big plays with Aiyuk matched up on a Vikings safety, and that’s how he surpasses the 100-yard mark and a career-high.
George Kittle scores a touchdown for the 4th game in a row on his fourth red-zone target of the season
Before the first Arizona game, Kittle didn’t have a red-zone target all season. However, Kittle has been targeted once inside the 10-yard line in the previous three games since his return. The result? Three receptions for three touchdowns.
The 49ers have by far and away the best red zone offense in the NFL. When they get down there, they score six. Last week’s first drive was an anomaly and the result of a head coach letting his emotions get the best of him. When you’re scoring a touchdown on 77% of your red zone drives — 6% points higher than second play — you go for it.
The offense won’t need a fourth-down conversion in the red area against the Vikings. Instead, Kittle scores his fourth touchdown in a row. He was the first 49er receiver to score three touchdowns in a row since fan-favorite Dante Pettis did so back in 2018.