Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction: Will 49ers Stay Hot?
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds
Date: Sunday, November 21, 2021
Game Time: 1:00 pm ET
Where to Watch: FOX
- Key Stat: None of Jacksonville’s three games since their Week 7 bye have totaled more than 40 points.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview
Fresh off a Monday night blowout win over the Rams, San Francisco heads to the Eastern time zone for a body clock game, where kickoff will take place at 10 AM Pacific. The short week may make things difficult on the 49ers, particularly with the long travel schedule. They dominated the Rams in Week 10 on the strength of a ruthless ground game, playing bully ball en route to a 44/19 run/pass ratio and 156 yards on the ground. Lead back Elijah Mitchell suffered a finger in the game, though, that may sideline him for Week 11.
If Mitchell were to miss, Jeff Wilson would likely get the bulk of the work, and we may get a Trey Sermon sighting. Wilson had a solid year when healthy in 2020 for the 49ers, rushing for 4.8 yards per carry on 126 rushes. Though in the doghouse, Sermon has also been effective this year, rushing for 4.4 yards per carry. Over the past several seasons, it’s become apparent that Kyle Shanahan’s rushing attack can thrive with a multitude of different backs in the lineup. This trait was also true of his dad Mike Shanahan in his time with the Denver Broncos and elsewhere. The only concern for the 49ers’ rushing attack would be the short week and long travel schedule.
Jacksonville has really struggled on offense of late, with rookie Trevor Lawrence looking further away from playing high-level football than he was billed as the top overall pick. Lawrence has particularly struggled to get the ball downfield and to his outside wide receivers. That has negatively impacted Marvin Jones, and with DJ Chark out, it’s been Laviska Shenault opposite Jones. Shenault is probably out of position on the outside, so both Lawrence’s issues and Shenault’s own inability to win down the field are to blame for the lack of a connection there.
Regardless, Jacksonville’s offense of late has centered on James Robinson out of the backfield and midseason trade acquisition Dan Arnold and journeyman return specialist Jamal Agnew as the primary receiving weapons. Both of them run a good percentage of their routes out of the slot. Those two are operating at short and intermediate depths and running more routes over the middle, which is where Lawrence feels most comfortable throwing at this point. As good as Robinson is out of the backfield, that’s not a recipe for an explosive offense, and obviously, not all of this falls on Lawrence’s shoulders, as his head coach Urban Meyer has clearly struggled to adjust in what is also his first season at the NFL level. You feel for Jacksonville a little bit that they lost first-round pick Travis Etienne in the preseason and then Chark early in the regular season. Still, they’ve really struggled to make adjustments throughout the season and have totaled just 33 points in three games since their Week 7 bye.
None of those three games have gone over 40 points, including their bizarre 9-6 win over Buffalo two weeks ago. The Jaguars have started to play better defense, particularly against the pass. Still, we know the 49ers are willing to run and then make use of their trio of playmaking pass-catchers — Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk — off play-action.
I like San Francisco to win this game, but it’s a big line to cover on the short week, and it’s possible they come out flat or struggle to generate offense in Jacksonville like the Bills did two weeks ago. The major difference between the Bills and 49ers, of course, is how pass-heavy Buffalo is versus how run-focused San Francisco likes to be, but anything that might limit the ability of guys like Samuel to make big plays will slow this game down. That’s why the best bet here, with Jacksonville struggling offensively and the 49ers content to run and play at a below-average pace, is the under.