Well, so far in the young season, the Niners have gotten their first win under Jim Harbaugh, their first road win in Cincinnati, and a near-miss against a quality team vs Dallas. Say what you will about Dallas, but they could very well be 0-3, while SF could be 3-0. As it is, they are both 2-1. AZ and Seattle are 1-2, and the Lambs are 0-3. As good as it all seems, the Niners are about to face a tough few weeks coming up. Games against Philly (road), Tampa, and Detroit (road) lead to the bye week in week 7. The only patsy in the immediate future is Cleveland after the bye week. And you know how much the Yorks want to win the battle of Ohio (having recently won the first leg).
Philly and Deeetroit look to be the hardest games in the near future. Tampa? Haven’t seen them this year, but they’ve scraped past Atlanta and Minnesota, and lost to Deeetroit. Philly matches up offensively very well against what the Niners struggle with. And that’s the short passing game/WCO type passes to the flat, TEs underneath, and delayed screens. Dallas shredded the Niners in the 4th quarter by going underneath, and featuring Witten to no end. Celek was kept quiet by the Giants, but Philly’s WRs had good numbers across the board. 13 catches for 160 yards. Although Maclin is questionable for the Niner game. Philly aslo runs pretty well, and this will be a test for Sopoaga to clog the middle, and the LBs to stay at home. Overpursuing on screen plays is death, and Bowman especially needs to not get caught out of position on screens and delays.
Tampa is more of a ball control offense. They don’t do anything particularly great, but they move the chains and grind out drives. Freeman is fair to good, but 2 TDs and 4 picks isn’t all that. And their run game is fair to middling as well. This should be a winnable game.
Deeetroit on the other hand, is pass, pass, pass. Stafford is close to 1,000 yards passing already, and they are 4th in the league in passing yards. They have a very good young secondary as well. However, teams run on them pretty well, so our O line will hopefully start to gel and be able to open up holes for Gore and Hunter.
So, these next three games are a challenge to this young team trying to find its way. 0-3 wouldn’t be the end of the season, but depending on how these games go, it’ll tell how much they have learned. The Niners need to take care of their home game vs Tampa. That is the best chance of winning their next few. A win in either Deeetroit or Philly would be pretty large, and would garner this team some cred and some confidence.
3-3 is the likely outcome at the break. We’ll see what the deal is after that. Then the schedule gets pretty dicey with the likes of Baltimore, the Giants, Washington, and Pittsburgh around the usual suspects of the NFC West. One would think 8-8 is in reach. They’d have to beat some good teams to improve on that.