San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots Preview and Prediction
Tom Brady and his New England Patriots (10-3) host sophomore quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) in a possible Super Bowl preview on Sunday Night Football.
Belichick and Brady have drawn up and executed the league’s number one offense, while the 49ers come to town with the number one scoring defense in the NFL.
The Patriots demolished the Texans last Monday night thereby locking up their fourth consecutive AFC East title. They are in search of their 14th consecutive win in December and 21st straight at home in the same month.
To continue these impressive streaks New England must get past a hungry 49ers team who can clinch the NFC West with a highway win. San Francisco has won 3 of Kaepernick’s 4 starts since he stepped in for the injured Alex Smith, who suffered a concussion against Saint Louis on November 11.
Although Smith has been cleared to play Coach Jim Harbaugh has stuck with his 2nd round draft pick. The numbers justify Harbaugh’s decision: Kaepernick has connected on 67.4% of his passes for 1073 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT and he already ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 351 rushing yards (7.6 YPC) adding 5 TDs on the ground.
While Kaepernick ran for a 50 yard TD run to salt away a victory over Miami last week, Brady bounced back from a 1 TD performance against those same Fins with 296 yards through the air and a season-high tying 4 TD passes over Houston last time out.
Brady has thrown for 29 touchdowns and only four interceptions this season, counting 19 with just one pick throughout the Patriot’s current seven-game tear.
San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots -4 (preview and prediction)
The Patriots may have started slowly, but they are coming together at the right time. Although the defense has shored up recently, the killer B’s have been relentless with the ball in their hands having put up 42 or more points in four of the last six games.
The Patriots are in tough against the 49ers’ Aldon Smith who has an NFL high 19.5 sacks (just three shy of tying Michael Strahan’s single-season record) but they were able to keep AFC sack leader J.J. Watt off the board and held the Texans’ tough front 7 to just 1 sack last week.
Here are some key ATS numbers for both teams:
San Francisco 49ers (8-5): 0 or negative sacks made in all 5 losses. They are 0-3 with negative turnover margin and 6-1 with positive TOM. 5-1 with 5.5+ yards per rush. They are 0-5 with 5.5 or fewer yards per attempt, 8-0 with 5.6+. The 9ers are 4-0 with 72.1%+ completions and 0-3 with 32+ passing attempts.
New England Patriots (8-4-1): all 4 losses were as a favorite, 3 of the 4 as home favorite of 7+ points. New England has been + turnover margin in 10 of 13 games; the other 3 they had 0. They are 1-4-1 with yards per attempt of 6.6 or less and are 0-3 with 42+ pass attempts. They are 5-1 with 298+ passing yards. 3-0 allowing 0 sacks. 1-2-1 throwing an interception; in 9 other games Brady has 0 INT. 5-0 with 3+ TD passes. Their ATS record is 0-4-1 with a quarterback rating of 97.4 or less. Quarterback rating in 8 wins 116.1, in 4 losses and 1 push 82.5. 3-0 with 2+ INT made.
There is also a favorable trend active on New England following their big win on MNF: Teams which won by at least 20 points on Monday night last game are 60-34-2 ATS.
I’m predicting another December win in Foxboro for the Pats.
Patriots 30, 49ers 17.
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NFL Record: 10-4-1