The San Fransisco 49ers are getting ready to face-off Tennessee Titans in the NFL Week 16 edition of Thursday Night Football, with the kick-off is set at 8:20 p.m. ET.
The result of the game does not have direct playoff implications in respective teams, as they play in different conferences. However, neither can also afford to lose.
Various predictions see the 49ers in the lead, as the Titans are struggling to find a stable base without the running back Derrick Henry who had to tap out due to a foot injury early in this season. His return for the playoff has not been confirmed yet.
Apart from that, the 49ers already won six of their last eight games, including a one-sided 31-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, compared to the Titans which lost three of their last four. This can serve as a booster to head into the short-week prime-time matchup.
.@stevekornacki breaks down what the Niners' playoff picture looks like right now pic.twitter.com/LGnQF3NBmu
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) December 17, 2021
49ers plans ahead, Titans will march on
The San Fransisco 49ers coach, Kyle Shanahan, has taken steps to prepare the team for the week ahead. Although the team managed to take down the Falcons, they need to remain at the top of their game to stay ahead of the Titans.
“I gave the players a victory Monday, which was our first one, on Monday,” said Shanahan. “…But it was also knowing how much we’re going to be around each other for 10 days straight so that you can have the mental break a little bit,” he added.
Thursday night games are known to be wild due to the short week preparation, as everything is more compacted. As Shanagan figured Monday would not be sufficient to plan the whole strategy against Titans, he prepared the plans from last week, even before the match with the Falcons. Moreover, the team will fly to Tennessee to play on a winter night, which might be taxing for the team.
Kyle Shanahan told his team they are not celebrating the win vs. the Falcons tonight. They are on a short week and can celebrate on Thursday night after beating the Titans. #49ers
— 49ers Webzone (@49erswebzone) December 20, 2021
On the other hand, DraftKings SportsBook called Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel as capable and daring to take risks and steal a possession.
Although the team has weakened on offense, their defense might be able to go toe-on-toe with the 49ers. In their last game against Pittsburgh Steelers, the team held Pittsburgh to 168 total yards and just 2 of 11 on third down. They also held Pittsburgh to four field goals, despite two drives entering their 20.
“We won’t break. We have to keep going. That’s what it is. No matter where it’s at we have to have that mentality,” said Titans linebacker Bud Dupree.
Going opposite direction
Earlier this season, the 49ears were going slow, with George Kittle suffering injuries. This is in contrast to the Titans with their optimum performance in the first half of the season.
However, the season saw a huge turnover as Fransisco quickly claimed more victories, while the Titans lost their momentum as A. J. Brown and Derrick Henry opted out of the game due to injury. Adding to the pile is Julio Jones, who had been struggling with health issues, and had to leave Week 15 with a hamstring injury.
The Titans’ current offense roster includes running back D’ Onta Foreman who’s leading the team’s game. However, the rest of the games see targets being split between receivers, with no standout. They even failed to reach 20 points in the last four games.
Rumors of Brown returning are still going around, and he might be the team’s real chance of getting back on their feet against the 49ers who are much healthier with better performance.