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Game Preview: 49ers at Patriots

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-4) VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (3-3)
Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. ET. Gillette Stadium.

PATRIOTS: Game Release (PDF)RosterDepth ChartStatsWays to Watch
49ERS: RosterDepth ChartStats – Roster Flip Card (coming soon)

The New England Patriots will attempt to get back to a .500 record this week when they host the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. The Patriots will face an NFC opponent for the second time this season, following 35-20 loss at Seattle in Week 2. Since the NFL realignment in 2002, the Patriots have the best inter-conference record with a 58-15 (.795) mark. The 2019 Patriots were 4-0 against the NFC East. In addition to the 49ers, the Patriots will host Arizona on Nov. 29 and travel to California to take on the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers will play for the first time since 2016 when the Patriots came out ahead, 30-17, in their first visit to Levi’s Stadium. The Patriots will host the 49ers for the first time since the teams played in a Sunday Night Football game on Dec, 16, 2012. San Francisco won, 41-34.

San Francisco holds a 8-5 lead in the series, but the Patriots have won four of the last five meetings.

The matchup will be a battle between two teams that were labeled as the teams of the past four decades, with the 49ers earning the title from 1981-99 and the Patriots dominating the last two decades (2001-present). The 49ers are third all-time with 122 wins in a decade (1990-99), while New England had 126 wins from 2000-09 and 141 victories from 2010-19.

SERIES BREAKDOWN

SAN FRANCISCO 8, NEW ENGLAND 5

Home Record, 3-4

  • Schaefer / Sulllivan / Foxboro Stadium, 2-3
  • Gillette Stadium, 1-1

Away Record, 2-4

  • Candlestick/3Com Park, 1-3
  • Stanford Stadium, 0-1
  • Levi’s Stadium, 1-0

Total Points: 49ers 322, Patriots 262

Longest winning streak: 3 games

Longest losing streak: 6 games (11/30/80 – 09/17/95)

Bill Belichick vs. San Francisco 4-1: (3-1 with New England)

SUSTAINED SUCCESS AGAINST THE NFC

The New England Patriots own a 58-15 (.795) record vs. NFC teams since realignment in 2002, the best inter-conference record in the NFL during that time. The 2019 Patriots finished 4-0 against the NFC East.

SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS

By Paul Perillo

When the Patriots run – Edge: Patriots

The 49ers defense has been absolutely gutted by injuries and nowhere has that been more evident than the front line. Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas are both out of the year while Dee Ford is on IR dealing with a neck injury. While Bosa and Ford are known more for their pass rush abilities, losing three of four defensive linemen has to cause problems stopping the run. The Rams Darrell Henderson enjoyed a solid night against that depleted front, and the Patriots are looking to bounce back from a subpar ground effort against the Broncos. The patchwork offensive line certainly had a role in the lack of production against Denver, but David Andrews is eligible to return off IR, which could put Joe Thuney back at left guard and Isaiah Wynn at left tackle. Shaq Mason remains on the COVID-reserve list so his availability remains in question. Same can be said of Jermaine Eluemunor, who missed most of the Broncos loss with an ankle injury. Assuming some of the pieces return, things should improve with Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead taking the bulk of the carries. Look for Cam Newton to perhaps call his own number more often given the struggles, and against this MASH unit things should improve.

When the Patriots pass – Edge: 49ers

The Niners secondary also is dealing with health issues, but two things impacting the matchup go in the visitors’ favor. First, San Francisco is getting some healthy bodies back. Emmanuel Moseley provided a huge boost when he returned last week against the Rams after missing two games with a concussion. Oft-injured veteran Jason Verrett is also healthy and was sharp against Los Angeles, giving the Niners much better options at corner. The safeties are Jarquarski Tartt and Jimmie Ward, a solid tandem known for its physicality. Meanwhile the Patriots passing game is a mess. Julian Edelman looks like a shell of his former self, often going long stretches without any action. N’Keal Harry was shut out against the Broncos, leaving Newton with very few options beyond the running backs. Damiere Byrd led the wideouts with just three catches, but no one appeared capable of consistently getting open and making plays against a very average Broncos secondary. If the Niners are reasonably healthy in the secondary they should be able to corral this limited group of pass catchers, particularly if Newton continues to show the inconsistency he’s displayed over the last two games he’s played. At this point the Patriots offense needs to prove it can move the ball through the air before much faith can be displayed.

When the 49ers run – Edge: 49ers

Few teams run the ball with as much diversity as the 49ers. Raheem Mostert leads the way, although he’s dealing with a high ankle sprain that knocked him out of most of the second half against the Rams and will likely keep him off the field this week as well. Even without him the Niners were able to milk the clock effectively in the fourth quarter with the tandem of Jerick McKinnon and rookie JaMychal Hasty as well as a number of jet sweeps/touch passes involving Deebo Samuel. Kyle Shanahan loves to rely on the run in order to open up passing lanes and he will stick with the ground game in Foxborough, especially going against a Patriots front that struggles in that department. Phillip Lindsay topped the 100-yard mark for Denver in his first game in a month coming off a toe injury. The Patriots front seven is dealing with some absences as well with Byron Cowart on the COVID-reserve list, leaving Lawrence Guy and some practice squad call-ups as the lone big bodies inside. That’s not a good sign entering a week in which the run defense will be paramount to the team’s success. Bill Belichick made some subtle changes in the lineup last week, moving edge players like Shilique Calhoun and Chase Winovich inside at times but the results weren’t strong. Ja’Whaun Bentley enjoyed a solid game in the middle, but he’ll need more help against the San Francisco’s physical offensive line and ground game.

When the 49ers pass – Edge: Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo is dealing with a significant injury of his own, a high ankle sprain that cost him two games and left him well under 100 percent in two others. He was efficient in the win over the Rams, but the stats are much better than his actual performance. Much of the damage was done on screens and touch passes to Samuel, most of which amounted to little more than extended running plays. He did his job well, but he still looks affected by the ankle and rarely pushed the ball downfield, which is where teams have had the most success going against the Patriots talented secondary. He will likely need to do more against the Patriots, who catch a break with Mostert’s injury. The Niners have some talent at wideout with Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and rookie Brandon Aiyuk, but the best pass catcher by far is tight end George Kittle. Kittle is one of the game’s best and will be a huge test for the secondary. Early in the season Joejuan Williams was taking those assignments but lately it’s been combinations of J.C. Jackson and Kyle Dugger in that role. Belichick will likely use a lot of personnel (and double teams) to deal with Kittle, who is by far Garoppolo’s favorite target. If the run defense can force some obvious passing situations, the secondary should be able to create some problems for Garoppolo. If not, it could be a long afternoon.

Special Teams – Edge: Patriots

San Francisco’s Robbie Gould has been one of the game’s most consistent kickers for more than a decade. He’s still going strong and gets the edge over Nick Folk, who has steadied the ship after a few shaky weeks to start the season. Jake Bailey is having an exceptional season with an impressive net average of 47.1 yards. Mitch Wishnowsky has been solid but not at Bailey’s level. Neither side generates much in the return game. San Francisco uses McKinnon on kickoffs and has tried several players on punts with Trent Taylor, Richie James and Dante Pettis all getting chances. James handled those duties Sunday night against the Rams. Gunner Olszewski took care of both kicks and punts against the Broncos and had some shaky moments. He took three kickoffs out of the end zone and only got good results once when he crossed the 30. Otherwise he bobbled one kick and was stopped inside the 20 twice. The Patriots will need better decisions from him going forward as the offense is struggling even with solid field position. Overall, not much to choose between the teams but Folk’s recent upswing earns a slight edge for New England.

Table inside Article

2020 REGULAR SEASON NEW ENGLAND SAN FRANCISCO
Record 2-3 3-3
Divisional Standings 3rd 4th
Total Yards Gained 1,872 2,211
Total Offense (Rank) 374.4 (13) 368.5 (16)
Rush Offense 167.2 (2) 127.8 (11)
Pass Offense 207.2 (25) 240.7 (20)
Points Per Game 21.8 (25) 24.7 (20)
Total Yards Allowed 1,695 1,926
Total Defense (Rank) 339.0 (9) 321.0 (5)
Rush Defense 119.2 (16) 108.3 (10)
Pass Defense 219.8 (9) 212.7 (5)
Points Allowed / Game 22.0 (11T) 21.7 (10)
Possession Avg. 31:27 32:01
Sacks Allowed / Yards Lost 11/63 18/137
Sacks Made / Yards 8/66 10/53
Total Touchdowns Scored 13 18
Penalties Against / Yards 12/139 36/337
Punts / Avg. 13/48.4 21/43.9
Turnover Differential 0 (17T) -1 (19T)

PATRIOTS TIES TO SAN FRANCISCO / CALIFORNIA

  • TE Devin Asiasi – College: UCLA Hometown: Shoreview, CA
  • P Jake Bailey – College: Stanford Hometown: Solana Beech, Calif.
  • DB Myles Bryant – Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.
  • LS Joe Cardona – Hometown: El Cajon, Calif
  • WR Julian Edelman – Hometown: Redwood City, Calif.
  • K Nick Folk – Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif. LB
  • Cassh Maluia – Hometown: Compton, Calif. WR
  • Matthew Slater – College: UCLA Hometown: Anaheim, Calif.

IF THE PATRIOTS WIN…

TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Tony Romo as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Jim Rikhoff and directed by Mike Arnold

SATELLITE RADIO: Coming soon!

NATIONAL RADIO: Sunday’s game will be broadcast to a national audience on Compass Media. Chris Carrino will call the game with Brian Baldinger providing analysis

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network’s 38 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.

For information on how to stream the game please visit our Ways to Watch guide.

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