San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Gore to shine in mismatch

Frank Gore should get amongst the touchdowns for the 49ers
Frank Gore should get amongst the touchdowns for the 49ers

Neil Harvey previews the latest NFL game to be played at Wembley, where the San Francisco 49ers are red hot favourites to beat regular London visitors Jacksonville Jaguars...

"With more than 500 yards for the season and five TDs already, Frank Gore is favourite to get the ball in hand when his team get into the red zone."

San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Start Time: Sunday, 18:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2 & Channel 4

The 49ers have been to Wembley once before. For Jacksonville, this is the first of what's slated as being four visits in as many seasons to the English capital. But if the Jaguars can pull off victory in this game, which would rank as an almighty shock, then perhaps they should think about moving to London full time.

In all ways I can think of, this is a total mismatch.

San Francisco have the better defense, against both the run and the pass, and the better offense, both through the air and on the ground. Of particular concern to Jacksonville, will be their inability to run the ball, for which they rank last in the league.

The fall from grace of Maurice Jones Drew would make the perfect case for his namesake Nancy Drew (fictional sleuth), as the the reasons behind his loss of form remain a total mystery. His woeful average of less than 50 yards a game has left the Jags with little choice but to throw the ball more often than not. And why not, because in Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon they actually have two very good receivers.

The problem is that Chad Henne simply isn't among the top quarterbacks in the league.

The only time Jacksonville have managed to put a decent number of points on the board has been when they've faced teams who struggle to defend the pass. They put 20 points past St. Louis, who rank next to last in the league in terms of yards conceded per pass (8.5). And they scored 19 points against Denver, who concede on average more total passing yards per game than anyone else (319).

But Jacksonville's passing offense is about as dangerous as a kid with a bb gun. Yes, when firing at an exposed target, of the likes I just mentioned, they can cause a mild sting. But when up against the armour plating of the likes of San Francisco, their pellet gun won't even leave a mark.

The Jaguars were held to single points by San Diego, Oakland and Indianapolis. The 49ers are better at stopping the pass than all three of those teams. So it's hard to see how winless Jacksonville (0-7) will move the ball at all, never mind get within touching distance of a first victory. But what about their opponents?

Well first I should mention that Jacksonville are the worst team in the NFL at stopping the run. There's not much they are good at is there?! And so it doesn't bode well for them as they prepare to take on the side ranked fifth in the league at running the ball.

San Francisco are one of only three sides to have rushed for more than a thousand yards this season. It's not even that they gain that much distance with each carry, it's simply the fact that they persist with the run, that makes it so effective. They just pound and pound and pound away at the opposing defense.

With more than 500 yards for the season and five TDs already, Frank Gore is favourite to get the ball in hand when his team get into the red zone. But also don't forget San Francisco's quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who averages more than 30 yards a game with his leggy scrambles and will probably fancy running it in himself once he gets near the Jacksonville goal-line.

The 49ers pass offence isn't bad either, but then again Jacksonville's pass defence isn't so terrible. But when running the ball is that easy, there should be no need for the 49ers to go aerial too often. With so much ground game, the clock should get eaten up quite quickly, meaning that while it should be a one-sided result, the scorers shouldn't be rushed off their feet entirely.

Recommended Bets

San Francisco (-15.5) to win @ 1/1
Colin Kaepernick anytime touchdown scorer @ 6/4
Jacksonville points under 10.5 @ 21/20
Frank Gore to score first touchdown @ 7/2
Frank Gore anytime touchdown scorer @ 4/9

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