Over/Under Stat Predictions for San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans
Seven Bleacher Report Featured Columnists have joined me to predict stat lines for Davis, Kaepernick and a few other notable players this weekend.
Of the seven over/under stat lines, not one was answered the same unanimously.
However, five of the seven had a consensus one way or the other, including lots of support for Frank Gore to have a big game.
Dylan DeSimone: 49ers Featured Columnist
Sean Galusha: 49ers Featured Columnist
Marlon Maloney: Titans Featured Columist
Chad Minton: Titans Featured Columnist
Dan Mori: 49ers Featured Columnist
Peter Panacy: 49ers Featured Columnist
Tom Smeaton: 49ers Featured Columnist
Joseph Akeley: 49ers Featured Columnist
Colin Kaepernick: Over/Under 1.5 Combined Passing/Rushing TDs
Consensus: OVER (5-3)
Even though he's blanked as a runner, Kap has had a pair of touchdowns in two of the last three wins. Not to mention, nobody has a formula to stop Vernon Davis.
Kap is starting to get into his groove, but the Titans have been strong against the pass this season and held the Seattle Seahawks to just 20 points on the road last week. Look for Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman to keep it on the ground and control the tempo of the game. It’s worked for three weeks now, why stop?
Through six weeks, the Titans have allowed an average of 19.2 points per game, with only one quarterback throwing for more than one touchdown.
While Kaepernick has improved over the last few weeks, throwing five touchdowns in three weeks, he has struggled against top-10 scoring defenses. In two games against such defenses, Kaepernick has thrown no touchdowns, four interceptions and averaged 139 yards passing and 54 yards rushing.
The Titans defense is playing inspired football right now, but it struggled to contain Russell Wilson last week. Kaepernick will mix in a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown.
It will be important for Kaepernick to hit some of his receivers, as the Titans will do everything they can to take Vernon Davis away. Look for Anquan Boldin and, perhaps, Vance McDonald to have good days.
I definitely see Kaepernick going over on this one. He'll likely find Davis at least once, and when Tennessee tries its best to limit Davis, Boldin could be open for another score. I wouldn't be surprised to see McDonald haul in a red-zone catch as well.
The Titans have a top-10 passing defense, but Kaepernick is starting to find his groove again these past three weeks. After Tennessee coach Mike Munchak's comments on Kap's rushing this season, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, maybe he's due for a solid performance on the ground.
My Take: UNDER
I expect the 49ers to have two offensive touchdowns in this game, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if Kaepernick played a direct role in both scoring plays. However, because I expect Frank Gore to have one rushing score, I'm going with the under.
Through six games, the Titans have allowed six passing touchdowns. Kaepernick has two passing touchdowns in two road games in 2013. So, I'll put him down for one passing score.
Kap still hasn't rushed for a touchdown this season. The 49ers aren't featuring many read-option plays these days, so it'll likely be up to Kap to scramble for his first rushing score.
Maybe this is the week he has a breathtaking run for a touchdown. But until he gets one on the ground, I'll avoid predicting he'll get one.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Over/Under 220 Passing Yards
UPDATE: Saturday, Oct. 19, at 1:30 p.m. ET
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Jake Locker is expected to play on Sunday. The Titans had us all fooled.
---End of Update---
Consensus: UNDER (5-3)
This 49ers pass defense has played out of its mind, and Fitzpatrick is averaging 209 yards in his two starts for Tennessee.
The 49ers defense has shackled opposing gunslingers ever since Aaron Rodgers torched it in Week 1. With Jake Locker on the mend, the Titans are ranked 29th in passing yards per game this season. Don’t expect Fitzpatrick to penetrate that stonewall secondary.
In his two starts since Jake Locker's injury, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 247 and 171, facing two teams with very similar philosophies to San Francisco's. Although the 49ers pass defense has allowed only 206.3 yards passing per game, the Chiefs and Seahawks average fewer than 190. With the way the Titans running game has been struggling, the Titans will reluctantly be forced to put the game in Fitzpatrick's hands.
Fitzpatrick is showing his true color as being nothing more than a backup quarterback. Against such a tough defense, he’ll fall way short of 220 passing yards.
The 49ers pass defense has improved. Also, their offensive emphasis on utilizing Frank Gore and the running game will minimize the number of possessions for Tennessee.
The 49ers are seventh in pass yards allowed, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is not exactly the epitome of an elite quarterback. He'll miss this mark.
The 49ers have been vulnerable to an occasional deep ball this year and almost just allowed a 300-yard performance from Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer. If the game remains close, Fitzpatrick should throw enough to eclipse 220 yards.
My Take: OVER
Against the Kansas City Chiefs, arguably the best defense in football, in Week 5, Fitzpatrick had 247 yards passing on 41 attempts. It wasn't like the Titans were getting blown out in that game either; they led, 17-13, midway through the fourth quarter before falling, 26-17.
I expect Fitzpatrick to have a similar stat line against the 49ers.
Assuming the Titans continue their struggles running the ball, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will call pass plays to attempt to move the chains. Kendall Wright and Nate Washington are plenty talented enough to give San Francisco's cornerbacks trouble.
Sure, Fitzpatrick isn't the most prolific passer in the world, but he did have nine 200-yard passing games in 2012 with the Buffalo Bills.
Coming off a game in which they had a mediocre pass rush and allowed 298 passing yards to Carson Palmer, the 49ers will yield a few big plays to the Tennessee passing game, which will help Fitzpatrick eclipse 220 yards.
Frank Gore: Over/Under 90 Rushing Yards
Consensus: OVER (6-2)
The Titans are allowing 111.2 YPG (19th in the NFL), and Gore is getting fed, currently the league's fifth-leading rusher. He might not need but 15 carries to surpass this mark.
The tank has been on a roll ever since he chewed out Harbaugh following the 49ers’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He may eclipse 150 yards against one of the league’s worst rushing defenses.
San Francisco has made a concerted effort to get Gore more involved in the offense. Since Week 4, Gore has averaged 20.7 touches a game and has rushed for an average of 5.4 yards a carry. Tennessee was able to hold Marshawn Lynch under 80 yards rushing last week, but Gore is on a tear right now that will give the Titans fits.
The Titans have done moderately well containing some good running backs through six games. Gore will have an impact, but will come up just short of 90 yards against a stingy Titans defense.
The 49ers offensive line is playing well and opening holes for Gore.
Like Houston, Tennessee is pretty good against the pass, but not so great against the run. Given the success the 49ers have had on the ground as of late, I expect them to exploit this weakness early and often. Gore needs to be the bell cow here and set up the rest of the offense.
Gore's been on a roll for four weeks now, and the Titans are ranked 19th in rushing defense. They've allowed at least 84 yards to running backs in every game since Week 2, so Gore should be a safe bet for another solid effort.
My Take: UNDER
The Titans are allowing 111 rushing yards per game, and there's no reason to believe the 49ers won't get to that number the way they've been running the ball recently. That being said, there's no guarantee Gore will get to 90.
First off, the Titans held Marshawn Lynch to 77 yards rushing last week. I doubt they'll change their game plan much against the San Francisco running game.
Secondly, in his last 22 regular-season starts (since the beginning of the 2012 season), Gore has reached 90 yards rushing just six times.
Kendall Hunter, Kaepernick and Gore will combine for well over 100 yards, but No. 21 will fall short of 90.
Chris Johnson: Over/Under 60 Rushing Yards
Consensus: EVEN (4-4)
CJ?K has been a total bust this year when it comes to running the rock. He's actually been more effective catching the ball. Johnson's rushed for only 21, 17 and 33 yards in his last three games.
The 49ers defensive line is pretty chewed up with injuries to Ray McDonald and Glenn Dorsey. While Chris Johnson has been a disappointment this season, 60 yards isn’t a calculus problem.
As long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the starting lineup for the Titans, Chris Johnson and the running game will continue to be abysmal. Johnson has rushed for a total of 71 yards over the last three weeks on 37 carries. The Titans revamped offensive line has been utterly terrible, leaving no reason to believe Johnson will run for more than 60 until the unit's mechanics are worked on during the bye week.
There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel to this slumping Titans rushing attack. It will be another frustrating day for Johnson as he’ll be lucky to reach 40 yards.
When nose tackle Glenn Dorsey went down in Week 6, the Cardinals' running game took off. He's still uncertain as of press time, according to a report by Jimmy Durkin of the San Jose Mercury News, and the 49ers are beat up on defense overall, so give a struggling CJ2K the benefit of the doubt for more than 60 yards, but not by much.
My Take: UNDER
Andre Eillington—a small, Chris Johnson-esque runner—needed only seven carries to rush for 56 yards last week against the 49ers. Yet, I'm still taking the under for two reasons: Tennessee's offensive line and Patrick Willis.
Tennessee's rushing offense has been inept this season. Johnson is averaging 3.1 yards per carry for the season, and that average has dipped to 1.9 YPC over the last three games.
Part of the reason why the 49ers struggled against Arizona's ground attack was Willis. He was shaking off the rust from being absent the previous two games, and it showed.
Willis scored a negative run defense score on Pro Football Focus (subscription required) for the first time since Week 10 of last year (coming off a bye week).
A week healthier, Willis should be back to terrorizing opposing running backs, which is bad news for Johnson.
Vernon Davis: Over/Under 85 Receiving Yards
Consensus: EVEN (4-4)
There is no reason to believe he goes under. As far as the football world is concerned, Vernon Davis is the only man who can consistently catch for San Francisco.
The best tight end in the NFL. Yes, better than Jimmy Graham. The only thing that’s slowed Kaepernick’s favorite target this season has been a hamstring injury. Defenses might want to consider a better strategy.
Davis has consistently been one of Kaepernick's more relied upon targets this season, but, as I said before, this offense struggles against top defenses. The Titans will have a touch choice to make defensively: They can use linebacker Zach Brown to spy on Kaepernick or cover Davis. Ultimately, I think Davis will be able to make some plays, but will fall just shy of 85 yards.
Gregg Williams has the Titans secondary playing some inspired football, and Vernon Davis will be kept mainly in check. A red-zone touchdown is likely, but not 85 yards.
The Titans will be extremely focused on containing Davis after his monster week. It will be up to Anquan Boldin and the other receivers to get open and make plays.
I think Kap will target Davis much like he did against Arizona. Tennessee will do a better job of limiting him, but his production will still be there. Davis could crest 90 yards in this game.
Davis should have another solid day, but it's tough to see Tennessee allowing the tight end to run wild like he did against Arizona. The Titans defend the pass well, and they've held most opposing tight ends in check, other than a 73-yard day by the New York Jets' Kellen Winslow in Week 4.
My Take: OVER
In five of his last seven games (playoffs included), Davis has had at least 85 yards receiving. He's also coming off the best regular-season game of his career in which he totaled 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
The last time Davis faced a defense influenced by Gregg Williams, he had 180 yards and two touchdowns to help the 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs.
You'd have to believe the Titans will make stopping him priority No. 1 when the 49ers are throwing the ball, but at some point, Kaepernick will beat the Tennessee blitz by hitting Davis for a big gainer.
The speedy tight end has a 60-plus-yard catch in two straight games. It won't take many receptions for him to surpass 85 receiving yards.
Titans: Over/Under 2.5 Sacks
Consensus: UNDER (6-2)
Kap has had happy feet in the pocket this year. And even though they always operate with a no-name D-line, the Titans are relentless getting after the QB.
While his rushing statistics aren’t particularly impressive, Kaepernick remains elusive in the pocket and is protected by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Tennessee will likely focus more on stopping Gore and the read-option rather than getting after the quarterback.
With the arrival of Gregg Williams, the Titans have become a blitz-happy defense, racking up 18 sacks through six weeks. The team has been putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks fairly consistently, scoring two five-sack games and four two-sack games. The 49ers offensive line will be the most skilled one the defensive front has faced to date and will be cautious coming after the mobile Kaepernick.
The Titans pass rush is balanced with nine different players having at least one sack through Week 6. However, the Titans getting more than two sacks against a mobile Kaepernick is far-fetched.
The mobility of Kaepernick will help minimize the sacks. In addition, expect the 49ers to try to run the ball with Frank Gore, which has been their recipe for success.
I'm starting to sound like a 49er homer in my description, but I am really liking how well SF's offensive linemen are playing as of late. They have cleaned up a lot of their early-season woes and are doing a good job in protecting Kaepernick. He may get sacked once or twice, but no more.
The 49ers have allowed just 13 sacks in six games, and the Titans have struggled taking down mobile QBs outside of a five-sack catastrophe for the Jets and Geno Smith. In the past two weeks, Kansas City's Alex Smith and Seattle's Russell Wilson have been sacked two times apiece. Kaepernick should manage to evade the rush.
My Take: OVER
Kaepernick has been playing with fire when attempting passes this season. He averages the fifth-longest amount of time to get rid of the ball, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
The 49ers have done a great job recently of limiting the chances Kaepernick has to take hits. They've done this by featuring a run-heavy offense.
Against Tennesee, the 49ers may struggle to consistently move the ball if they're too predictable. They'll likely need to attempt 30 passes like the Seahawks did last week to be effective.
Tennessee has had at least two sacks in every game this season, and Kaeprnick has been sacked five times so far in two road games. All these stats suggest Kaepernick will be sacked two or three times, but I'm willing to give Tennesse's defense (ranked seventh in sacks with 18) the benefit of the doubt.
49ers: Over/Under 2.5 Forced Turnovers
Consensus: UNDER (7-1)
But not by much. I suspect SF has two takeaways in this game. Eric Reid, NaVorro Bowman, Corey Lemonier and this group of corners have been attacking the football.
The Titans are treading very carefully with the ball this season, as evidenced by their plus-eight turnover differential (currently second in the NFL). While the 49ers have done a good job taking the ball away lately, a big reason for that has been facing some pretty awful quarterbacks.
Before Ryan Fitzpatrick was thrust into a starting role in Week 5, the Titans had not turned the ball over even once through four games. Since then, however, the team has turned the ball over five times, four of them being interceptions. Fitzpatrick will have his interception or two, but the rest of the offense has been very responsible with the football. I think San Francisco will force two in a turnover-filled affair.
The Titans made it through the first four games without a turnover, but Fitzpatrick has changed all of that. He’ll throw a couple more crucial interceptions, but the turnover total will stay at two.
Fitzpatrick has a propensity for throwing interceptions, and the opportunistic 49ers defense will get at least two. One more or a 49ers fumble recovery gets us over 2.5.
I would love to see three turnovers from the Titans, but I don't see SF getting more than two. If that does happen, look for Fitzpatrick to make a couple of mistakes and throw two picks. Maybe Eric Reid comes up big again here. I don't see Chris Johnson putting the ball on the ground either.
Fitzpatrick has a penchant for turnovers, and he's thrown two interceptions in each of his starts for Tennessee. The trend continues here with at least one and maybe an opportunistic fumble, which should still set the 49ers up for victory if they manage "only" two takeaways.
My Take: UNDER
The 49ers have forced eight turnovers over the last two games. They only forced five in their first four games.
What's changed? Nothing much really.
If anything, with Aldon Smith not playing, one might expect the turnover number to go down. Essentially, this is all evidence of the randomness of forcing turnovers.
Against two of the best defenses in the league, Fitzpatrick tossed a combined total of four interceptions. Though the 49ers have an above-average defense, it is not on the level of Kansas City and Seattle's.
At some point, San Francisco's recent turnover barrage is bound to end. The Niners will get at least one on Sunday, but three is a lot to ask for against a team that has only five giveaways on the season.
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