The San Francisco 49ers have been in the news lately mainly for their quarterback controversy, but it’s obvious that the 49ers are one of the top contenders for the Super Bowl this year. Public opinion polls say that NFL fans think the 49ers have the best chance of any team at winning the title this season. The Miami Dolphins have been very competitive of late. Can Miami hand San Francisco its second straight loss?
The Dolphins have gotten up and down play from rookie Ryan Tannehill this year. Not many expected him to be successful this year, but he has looked pretty good at times. At other times, he has been downright terrible. He has two games where he threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. On the whole, he has a quarterback rating of 72.3, which certainly isn’t very good. Still, he looks like he has the potential to do well in this offense in the future. Reggie Bush leads the team with 726 rushing yards (4.4 per carry) this year. Miami hasn’t been able to throw it downfield very often this year, which has allowed teams to sit on the short routes.
Miami’s defense has been very good against the run this year, but they haven’t fared well against the pass. Cameron Wake continues to be one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Wake has 11 sacks to lead the team this year. Opponents are averaging 258 yards per game through the air against the Dolphins. If the front seven doesn’t get pressure right away, opposing quarterbacks have been able to beat this secondary.
It appears Colin Kaepernick will get the start again on Sunday for the 49ers. San Francisco will have to work out who the starter will be moving forward, but regardless of who starts under center this is a very good football team. Frank Gore and the running game are the focal point of this offense. Gore has 200 carries for 970 yards this year. Kendall Hunter has been great as his backup as well, but he will miss the rest of the season with an injury. Michael Crabtree is having a breakout season on the outside. Vernon Davis is one of the best tight ends in the game. The 49ers offense averages 24.1 points per game.
The real strength of the 49ers team is their defense. San Francisco is giving up fewer points per game (14.2) than any other team in the NFL. This unit is second in the NFL in total defense. Aldon Smith is absolutely racking up the sacks this year. Smith has an amazing 17.5 sacks through just 12 games. Justin Smith is one of the best defensive linemen in the game, and Patrick Willis is the leader of a terrific group of linebackers. This is a unit has no apparent weaknesses.
The Dolphins have outperformed expectations this year, and their defense is good against the run. I think this game stays closer than most think. Look for Miami to cover.
San Francisco 17 Miami 13