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Playoff preview: The San Francisco 49ers and what’s their biggest weakness and strength?

They stop the run seamlessly, very balanced on the other side.

Riding a 10-game winning streak, the San Francisco 49ers are preparing to host their division rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

San Francisco swept Seattle in the regular season, outscoring them 48 to 20 in their combined matchups.

Kyle Shanahan has been known to establish the run against everyone, whether it’s straight up the A-gap or toss sweeps to the perimeter. His old-school identity of running the ball down your throat has never come close to going away. San Francisco ranked 8th in rushing YPG this year (138.8)

With that being said, the Niners have been pretty balanced on offense. That’s probably their biggest strength. Saying it’s difficult to stop a trio of CMC, Deebo and Kittle would probably be an understatement.

San Francisco tallied 504 rushing attempts this season, along with 512 passing attempts. They tallied 30 passing touchdowns, in comparison to 20 rushing touchdowns. They spread the wealth to everyone and their scoring offense (26.5 PPG) being 6th in football is a testament to that.

Defensively, DC DeMeco Ryans is the brain of a scheme that finished with the sixth-highest pass-rush win rate (46%) and the fourth-highest run stop win rate (33%). Niners had the best scoring defense in the league (16.3 PPG) this season. They also allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. On top of that, SF was no. 2 in takeaways per game (1.8) just behind Dallas (1.9). In their last 10 contests specifically, they’ve allowed just 68.4 rush ypg and 3.3 yards per carry.

Nick Bosa (DPOY favorite) put up 51 tackles, 90 QB pressures, 18.5 sacks + two forced fumbles this season. Fred Warner is a top 3 LB in the league and has been amazing for the Niners, per usual. Warner and Bosa are the heartbeat of a defense that has been rolling almost seamlessly.

San Francisco sits at the top of a lot of categories defensively, but their weakness is the secondary. Their secondary isn’t bad by any means, but they’ve had a couple questionable performances.

San Francisco allowed a combined 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns to Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson in Week 15. Davante Adams gave them more issues the next week (153 yards + 2 TDs). Niners ranked just 20th in passing defense (YPG) this season, and Seattle will have to expose this weakness if they want a shot, if it is a weakness.

Since Week 11, the Seahawks have allowed the eighth-most pressures (85) and sacks (13). Niners will be pretty reliant on their pass rush to expose Seattle’s unconvincing o-line. This will make things much easier on the secondary, and pretty much mask their only semi-weakness on defense. It’s a lot easier said than done though.
Offensively, the Niners don’t have a weakness outside of lack of depth at QB… which hasn’t been an issue for them at all. We’ll see if they ‘play down to competition’ or keep rolling.

Niners host Seattle on Saturday, 1/14 at 3:30pm CST.

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