PFF Preview: 49ers @ Raiders, Week 14
The San Francisco 49ers will look to get back to their winning ways this week as they travel north to take on the struggling Oakland Raiders. The 49ers are coming off of an (as CEO Jed York put it) “unacceptable” loss on Thanksgiving evening to the Seattle Seahawks that has them sitting at third place in the NFC West. Meanwhile, the Raiders just suffered an embarrassing 52-0 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Rams that might give them some extra motivation for a rebound.
One thing that the 49ers have done particularly well is run the ball to the left. They’ve gone 111 times off to the outside of the left guard or over, and have gained 485 yards (4.4 yards per run average) and scored five touchdowns. Compare that to 236 carries for 881 yards (3.7 yards per run) and only one touchdown when running elsewhere. With tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Iupati, there isn’t much reason to run anywhere else — the two have combined for a fantastic +25.8 run blocking grade this season.
One reason they might try to avoid running left in this game is Raiders’ rookie linebacker Khalil Mack, who often lines up on that side. Mack has been an absolute force this season, with 34 run stops that have contributed to his outside linebacker-leading +25.9 run defense grade. In 12 games, he hasn’t had a negative run defense grade. If Mack can dissuade the 49ers from running to their preferred side, he might just give the Raiders an edge.
Here are three players from each team to keep an eye on in this game.
San Francisco 49ers
Ray McDonald – McDonald has made 20 run stops, giving him the third-highest Run Stop Percentage among 3-4 defensive ends at 10.1%.
Chris Borland – Only two other inside linebackers have a better overall grade than Borland’s +16.9, and his ridiculous 20.5% Run Stop Percentage leads the league.
Antoine Bethea – Bethea’s +14.9 overall grade is the second-highest among safeties in the league.
Justin Tuck – Tuck’s 22 total pressures in limited snaps gives him a sixth-best (among 3-4 defensive ends) Pass Rushing Productivity of 7.9.
Donald Penn – Penn has allowed only 23 pressures and has a pass block grade of +14.8, fourth-best among tackles.
Latavius Murray – Murray has had a run of over 15 yards in each of the last two games that he’s played and has gained 155 yards on only eight carries.
Recently at PFF