San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Storylines, prediction for Niners’ must-win game

The San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game could be a stepping stone for the Niners to build off of if they can win comfortably.

The San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t the sexiest matchup from a competitive standpoint, but the stories are abundant between these two franchises. The Jaguars are damaging Trevor Lawrence, to put it lightly. The 49ers, meanwhile, have gone from somewhat using two quarterbacks to forgetting about the rookie. But San Francisco is just one game out of the NFC playoff race.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars storylines

Lawrence is struggling at things as a rookie that he never truly struggled with in college. The 49ers just manhandled the Rams, but we’ve seen bad teams beat good teams every week in the NFL this season. Will we see the Trey Lance package moving forward, and should we see it more in the future?

49ers could maintain momentum with a comfortable win

San Francisco needed to turn a corner, but one game doesn’t prove anything in a league as bipolar as the NFL has been in 2021. They need to start stacking performances together. After all, just a few weeks ago, the Bills only put up 6 points against this awful Jaguars team.

The 49ers’ offense has turned a corner the past few weeks overall, and it has a lot to do with their improvements in the run game. However, from a consistency perspective, they’re still lacking.

Big plays have risen their expected points added (EPA), and I think we all know those big plays aren’t coming from Jimmy Garoppolo threading a needle downfield. He doesn’t need to. At least, he doesn’t need to with the way the offense is currently constructed.

The biggest issue with Lance and Garoppolo is that they require different systems because they have different strengths.

The Jaguars’ offense might break Trevor Lawrence

After a run of pretty high-end rookie quarterback play throughout the past few seasons, only Mac Jones has found success in 2021. The performances of Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields might be the best example of why NFL teams should let rookies sit in Year 1.

When we looked at the Jaguars’ situation from 30,000 feet before the year, it didn’t appear they were a wholly broken team, at least not on offense. They added Marvin Jones and already had DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault.

Unfortunately, Chark hasn’t played since Week 4. Jones has been Lawrence’s safety blanket at times and a detriment at others. Jacksonville hasn’t figured out how to use Shenault yet, and I doubt that changes this season.

Lawrence’s problems are so multi-faceted that it will take thousands of words to assign blame (I’m trying in my free time). But in the grand scheme, everything is terrible. He’s suffered from accuracy issues, and the offense doesn’t do anything to help him. Their screen game is a joke, and they don’t do nearly enough to put defensive backs in conflict or use rub routes to create separation. Then, when things do go well, receivers decide catching the football isn’t necessary.

San Francisco vs. Jacksonville betting line and game prediction

The Jaguars are a 6.5-point underdog at home against the 49ers. Jacksonville has won two of their last four games, but they’re still an abject disaster offensively. Furthermore, their defense ranked as the worst in the league until the past few contests.

George Kittle changes the offense

George Kittle changes everything offensively. He’s such an outstanding blocker that his effect on the rushing attack is easily felt.

In 2019, the Niners averaged over a yard more per carry, an 11% higher explosive run rate, and a 14% higher success rate.

We know his presence in the passing attack is outrageous. He changes the offense altogether. Because of Kittle, the offense should have enough firepower to separate from Jacksonville.

49ers vs. Jaguars Prediction: 49ers 27, Jaguars 14

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read more of his work here and follow him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch

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