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3 keys to a 49ers victory: Must-win game vs. the Jaguars?

The 49ers will look to reset following the bye week against the Jaguars.

The San Francisco 49ers had an ideal 5-0 start to the season, but have dropped games to the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, and the Cincinnati Bengals on their recent three-game losing streak.

Fresh off a bye week, the 49ers will look to reset in Week 10 on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 6-2 and are coming off a bye week of their own.

The 49ers, who stand at 5-3 on the year, have a number of injury concerns, as left tackle Trent Williams and defensive tackle Javon Hargave are both listed as questionable, while the team will be without left guard Aaron Banks for a few weeks due to turf toe.

The Jaguars, on the other hand, have started the season strong, winning five consecutive games after losing early matchups to the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.

Heading into the game, the 49ers are seen as three-point favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, with the over/under placed at 44.5 points.

Here’s what you need to know about the 49ers’ opponent on Sunday.

Opponent Preview

The Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten rid of their old reputation over the past two seasons, making the playoffs last season and following that with a 6-2 start, winning games over the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, among other teams.

Offensively, the Jaguars sport a three-headed attack at receiver with Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones, while versatile running back Travis Etienne has rushed for 583 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games.

Defensively, the Jaguars have allowed just 19.5 points per game, good for eighth in the NFL, and are led by outside linebacker Josh Allen, who already has nine sacks and averages nearly five pressures a game.

Statistically, the Jaguars have ranked in the middle-of-the-pack, however, when it comes to yards, earning 341.4 yards a game, which ranks 14th, while allowing 342.8 a game, good for 23rd in the NFL.

That’s primarily due to a passing defense that allows 263.5 yards a game, the third-worst mark in the NFL, although you could attribute that to the fact they’ve led in a majority oof their games.

But, they’ve been one of the more disciplined teams across the league, ranking third in penalties per game at 4.9, while the 49ers are among the league’s worst with 6.9 penalties a game.

Keys to the Game

Interceptions: A main difference for the 49ers between their wins and losses is Brock Purdy and his knack for throwing interceptions.

Through the first five games of the season, Purdy had a perfect 9:0 touchdown-interception ratio, but that has changed to 3 touchdowns and five interceptions in the three losses.

Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars are tied for first in the NFL with two other teams at generating interceptions, securing 11 through the first eight games.

One of those other two teams? The 49ers, who have the same number of picks thus far.

Taking care of the football will be integral in this one, as that’s allowed the Jaguars to get away with giving up a lot of passing yards, while the 49ers have yet to win a game this season when Purdy throws a pick.

Redzone: The 49ers have been one of the best teams when it comes to the redzone, both in getting there and in executing inside the 20-yard line.

San Francisco is tied for second with four redzone appearances per game this season, and are fifth with a 65.6 percent conversion rate (21 touchdowns on 32 opportunities).

Meanwhile, the Jaguars have struggled when it comes to the redzone, both in reaching the area and executing when getting there.

They rank 24th with just 2.6 redzone appearances per game this season, while ranking 26th with a 47.6 percent conversion rate.

On the defensive side, the statistics are flipped in a way.

While the 49ers are first in the NFL in allowing just 2.3 redzone chances a game, they’ve allowed a 61.1 percent conversion rate, good for 23rd in the league.

On the other hand, the Jaguars are 25th, allowing 3.4 redzone appearances per game this season, but have only allowed a 48 percent conversion rate, good for 10th in the NFL.

On one hand, you’ve got a good redzone offense and on the other, you’ve got a solid redzone defense. Something’s got to give.

Getting to the quarterback: Through eight games, Brock Purdy has been pressured on 38.3 percent of his dropbacks, the 12th-highest mark of a quarterback whose dropped back at least 75 times this season, according to PFF.

Conversely, Trevor Lawrence is 34th, seeing pressure on 29.6 percent of his dropbacks along the same criteria, according to PFF.

Getting to the quarterback will be an important factor in this one, especially when considering that Purdy has completed 50 percent of his passes over the last three games combined when under pressure.

Jacksonville’s Josh Allen has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL this season, but there hasn’t been a major force behind him other than outside linebacker Travon Walker, who has 25 pressures and 3.5 sacks through eight games.

The 49ers may be without Trent Williams once again, meaning that San Francisco could be missing both of their starters on the left side, as guard Aaron Banks will miss a few weeks due to turf toe.

With the addition of Chase Young, the 49ers will look to improve their pressure numbers on that side, but they’ll also need to protect Purdy well if they want to consistently move the chains. That includes minimal penalties, which have been drive-killers recently.