Without mistakes, 49ers should beat Vikings

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, right, catches a pass against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

All due respect to the Minnesota Vikings, a quality organization, but the 49ers would have to beat themselves to lose this game.

Not because the 49ers are so much better than the Vikings. They’re not. If the game were on a neutral field and both teams had the same amount of time to rest and prepare, the Vikings might stand a chance. But the game will be in Santa Clara, it will be the Vikings’ second road game in the past six days and the 49ers have had 13 days off.

Advantage: 49ers. They will win if they avoid major mistakes. Here are their keys to victory:

1. Feature Kendrick Bourne: Bourne is Jimmy Garoppolo’s secret weapon.

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This article has 52 Comments

  1. They should be able to isolate Sendejo in the slot and win against him with Sanders or whoever. Same thing goes for isolating Coleman or Juice on Barr in coverage.

    I don’t anticipate Witherspoon struggling, and I think he’ll have a bounce back game. Especially if Ford is tuned up and ready to go. Goldman Sacks had 24 on 164 snaps with Bosa and Ford on the field together this season, while they had 24 sacks on 801 snaps on all other plays.

    I think Brunskill is winning the RG job, and I don’t think Person will get it back unless he gets hurt.

  2. I’ll be interested to see how much they move Kittle around in this one to try and get him isolated on a CB, and also how much they try and use 11 personnel to get Sandejo on the field.

  3. The Niners are going to need some sort of play calling mastermind to scheme guys like George Kittle open. The hour is getting late, but hopefully they can find someone in time.

      1. I think the 9ers are toast. Shanahan has proven he can’t scheme worth a darn. Jimmy Raye might be available to step in before kickoff.

        I’m deeply frightened.

        1. I really feel like you guys are missing a great opportunity. I am 100% certain Jim Hostler is available. As Trent Dilfer said, Hostler is the greatest offensive mind in football.

      2. With Mike LaFleur handling the pass game coordinator role, and Mike McDaniel handling the run game coordinator role, KS has coordinators, but with no OC title.

  4. Oh dear, I actually agree with everything in this article except the final score prediction. Niners 27 -VIkes 13.
    I would add that the niners may decoy with Kittle providing space for Juice or Dwelley. Also let’s get Jeff Wilson involved. He wont fumble on the 1.
    Let’s get ready to rumble.

      1. Good stuff Grant, very good work on your analysis. Pregame reports indicate you were spot on suggesting Kwon play SAM, and Ford limited to strictly obvious passing downs. It also sounds like Witherspoon will be on a very short leash, as he should be.

        Vikings – 20
        NINERS – 31

  5. The problem with Witherspoon is he gives up big catches at crucial times in the game.
    Then he loses confidence and unravels giving up more and more catches.
    Mosley deserves to start.

  6. I am excited that my beloved 49ers are back in a game that matters! Who would have thought that they would be the #1 team to beat after all these years of trial and error. JH is forgotten and KS is our man!
    .
    I’ll put some catfish on the grill today, sit back and enjoy the road to the SB!
    .
    My prediction exceeds 24-23 but I will take it either way; 35-19
    .
    GO NINERS!!!!!

  7. Adebo returning to Stanford for another year is great news.

    Now when Lynch drafts him next year he might actually deserve the pick.

  8. Strength of the Minnesota defense is where Jimmy G makes his bread and butter. I expect 2 ints. Great year for SF but taking Minnesota and the money line.

    1. All you guys who picked against the Niners, 🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼

      1. It’s really a win win situation for me. If the 49ers win I am ecstatic for a continued season. If they lose, I have extra money to psychologically lift my spirits and give a boost to the local economy.
        I am anticipating restructures that will keep this team together another year.

  9. Thanks Grant….agree on all counts but #5…JimmyG loves to throw over the middle I don’t see that changing….

    If Ford plays 15 snaps and Witherspoon plays well the D will hold up, if not another nail biter..either way its been an exciting year and a fun team to watch…gotta be proud of this team either way great season, the team has exceeded all expectations this year…

    27 24 Niners advance

  10. Two things on offense, two things on defense. 1st on offense, gash running plays. Kyle’s scheme is based on running the ball and this is where it starts. Hell, run right at those two d-ends and make them work. Success running will set up number 2. 2nd–scheming the passing game off of play action. I know that this sounds so basic, but this is where Kyle is at his best. formation changes, personnel packages, motion, The Viking secondary is a little banged up at the corner, so Shanny should take an advantage of that. On defense, 1st–control Cook. With their WR’s banged up a little, Cook will get 30 touches (25 rushes and5 passes). Control Cook, probably with Warner and Tartt, and you control down and distance. When that is accomplished, 2nd–unleash the pass rush. That has been the difference maker all year. Throw in a blitz to keep Cook in. Get after Cousins. Cousins seems like he can be rattled, so do it.

    My prediction? It will be a good game, but we will pull a good lead in the 3rd quarter and put it away in the 4th with a defensive takeaway that scores or gives the offense a short field to score and put the game away. Final : 49ers 37 Vikings 20

    1. This team runs behind Staley at an alarming rate. They don’t trust McGlinchey nearly as much. I think New Orleans had a much better line than SF, a better back, and a better pass rush. They lost due to mistakes and coaching.

      It will take scheme and mistake free football for SF to wins it’s super bowl of the NFC. This is the toughest challenge left in the NFC. If SF wins, book the Super Bowl flights now.

  11. This is a statement game, the game that finally made Levi stadium a home stadium. This game will be the first complete game that this team has played all year. The game wont be as close as the final score indicates. 35 – 16 Niners.

  12. I think todays game is going to be all about defense. Niner defense. Not much talk about them this week compared to the Niner offense and Jimmy vs the Viking defense. I just don’t see Minnesota going up and down the field on this group. It’s going to be a struggle for them. They’ll manage a TD and 2 FG’s. Meanwhile, Kyle will have enough in his arsenal to score, like he always does. Minnesota is good on defense, but they will be no match for SF’s offense today. Definitely taking SF -7 and the under (44). SF has filled the coffers well this year. That will continue!!

    SF 30 MINN 13

    Also, for you wagerers.

    Take Baltimore -9 1/2 and the over (47)

    BAL 38 TENN 20

    Good luck, have fun, drink beer. :)

  13. Looks like Dee Ford is playing so some good news assuming he can hold up… Niners are built for this and I think the Vikes are in for a rude awakening. LETS GO NINERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. The Vikings trash talking Jimmy GQ: “As the game goes on, you have to bring the pressure on him. You see that he’s starting to get scared,” Hunter explained.

    I dunno about Jimmy, but I find it a suspension of belief that anyone would be scared of a guy named, Danielle. Just saying!

    1. Jimmy’s come a looooong way since then and has a much better supporting cast this time around. As long as the OL holds up he’ll be fine.

  15. These guys lost both their games to Chicago and both to GB in their own division. They did manage to beat the Lions twice. They also managed to beat the Giants, Broncos, Dallas and Washington. I can’t do it. I don’t buy that this team is all of a sudden a contender to roll to the superbowl. Hope I’m right.

    1. How do you explain what they were able to do to the Saints last week? All 3 phases clicked for the Vikings. There was one guy that they couldn’t stop and that was Taysom Hill. Leads me to believe, Samuel might be the main man in this game for the 49ers….

  16. “How do you explain what they were able to do to the Saints last week?” The question is do you think they can do it again?

  17. Pulls out pencil, not so fast! Saleh still in the mix for the Browns job. If his unit dominates today, I expect them to pull the trigger on him.

    Person is back in the lineup. That scares me considering how rusty Staley and McGlinchey were. Is this a hint that it’s gonna be a runcentric offence for the 49ers?

    1. Sure. Let’s beat up a bully and a team that is banged up coming off a short week.
      Ground and pound and a 3-0 win works just fine.

  18. Although Person and Witherspoon will start, the source indicated that the 49ers have such confidence in Brunskill and Moseley that there would be no hesitancy to make a change at either of those positions during the course of the game.

  19. Niners should be trying to exploit Barr on coverage. I will watch for playaction with run up the middle.

    First play off game in Levi’s!
    Don’t have tickets but headed with a couple of buddies to Double D’s bar in Los Gatos.

    Feels great, baby!!

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