Who The Guy?
Nick Bosa is the odds-on favorite to win the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year award after notching 17.5 sacks through Week 16. The energetic pass rusher is a superb technician with a series of "wax on, wax off" maneuvers that would make Mr. Miyagi proud. With few edge blockers capable of slowing down the relentless defender, the Raiders must have a plan to deal with No. 97 on critical downs.
Know His Name
Christian McCaffrey is the 49ers' most dangerous offensive weapon as a runner-receiver with outstanding speed, quickness and skills. The sixth-year pro is averaging 104.2 scrimmage yards per game since joining the 49ers at the trade deadline, exhibiting the dynamic playmaking ability that makes him a matchup problem as an RB1/WR2.
Don't Sleep On…
Brandon Aiyuk has stepped up as the 49ers WR1 in Deebo Samuel's absence. The third-year pro is on track to post the first 1,000-yard season of his career as a "catch-and-run" specialist on the perimeter. With the 49ers capable of creating one-on-one matchups in the passing game by featuring run-heavy sets, the Raiders must be aware of Aiyuk's whereabouts, or the crafty playmaker could put up a 100-yard game as a complementary weapon on the outside.
The 49ers offense has not skipped a beat since Brock Purdy stepped in as the starting quarterback. The former QB3 has shown surprising poise and playmaking ability as a "game manager-plus" at the position. Purdy's ability to run the game according to the script has helped Kyle Shanahan terrorize opponents with creative schemes that keep defenders in conflict on early downs.
Matchup To Watch: Dre Greenlaw vs. Josh Jacobs
The NFL's leading rusher will face a dominant defense spearheaded by a few disruptive defenders on the second level. Greenlaw and his partner (Fred Warner) excel at controlling the tackle-to-tackle box, but each also possess the speed and quickness to run down runners attempting to turn the corner on perimeter runs. With the 49ers intent on forcing the Raiders' new quarterback to win as a passer, the battle between the NFL's top rusher and the dynamic duo will be "must-see TV" this weekend.
The 49ers' creative running game and complementary aerial attack keep defenders in conflict for 60 minutes. The combination of "stretch-bootleg" plays, in particular, puts defenders in a bind when determining whether to chase the ball or sit back in coverage. With a collection of playmakers featuring explosive running skills, the scheme and personnel create problems for opponents attempting to match up with an offense that is simple in design but complex in appearance.
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has crafted a scheme that features an assortment of blitzes, simulated pressures and traditional coverage to complement a four-man rush scheme that overwhelms opponents due to the 49ers' frontline talent. The combination of pre-snap disguises and constant movement keeps quarterbacks and playcallers guessing when attempting to decipher the 49ers' tactics. With Jarrett Stidham poised to make his first NFL start, the 49ers defense could look like a fun mirror at the circus by the end of the game.
As the Raiders prepare for Week 17 against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium, view past matchups between the two teams.