NFL Week 8: 49ers take on Jaguars at Wembley
When: Sunday October 27th at 10am PT/1pm ET (5pm in London)
Where: Wembley Stadium in London, United Kingdom
TV: FOX (Regional in Western US, Northern Florida); Sky Sports (United Kingdom)
Northern/Central California: KTVU 2 San Francisco; KTXL 40 Sacramento; KMPH 26 Fresno
Northern Florida: WAWS 30 Jacksonville; WTLH 49 Tallahassee
London, UK: Sky Sports Channel 4
Direct TV Sunday Ticket: Channel 705
Announcers: Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
London Calling- The 49ers this Sunday will travel about as far as they can go to play a road game. For the second time in franchise history the 49ers will play an in-season game at London’s Wembley Stadium as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of the NFL’s promotional International Series. This will be also the third time in franchise history that the 49ers have played an NFL game abroad. The 49ers are entering this game on a four game winning steak having defeated the Tennessee Titans 31-17 last Sunday. The 49ers are currently at 5-2 on the season and are looking to keep their winning steak going in order to keep pace with the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks. The Jacksonville Jaguars meanwhile have had a season they would just as soon forget coming into this contest with an 0-7 season mark. Not only are the Jaguars winless in seven games, they have at times just barely been able to even compete. However this said the 49ers Frank Gore pointed out very early in the week that the 49ers cannot afford to look past the Jaguars or take this team for granted. Gore could not be more right on point in that assessment. The 49ers must come into this games as focused and ready to play as they would any game on the schedule. The 49ers may be decided favorites here, however they are smart enough to know that in today’s NFL there are no guarantees. Factor in the long travel and playing a game 6,000 air miles from home are amongst many reasons for the 49ers to not allow for any distractions. At 0-7, it’s safe to say the Jaguars from here on are playing with house money which could be their one advantage on the whole.
Kaepernick Unplugged- Colin Kaepernick last week against Tennessee appeared to find his land legs as the read option proved to be effective for arguably the first time all season. Kaepernick took what was given to him by the Titans defense and was able to turn in several clutch plays which either extended drives are resulted in points. Gore again was a key and will be this weekend as well. The running game as a whole struggled a bit however did enough with the many short fields they had. If the 49ers are to get Mario Manningham back it would be a huge plus even though his role would most likely be limited in the beginning. Look for both Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, and Kyle Williams to be factors as the 49ers should be able to effectively move the ball on the Jaguars. On defense they are winning the majority of the battles on the field as though they have bent from time to time they certainly have not broken. Not even close as a matter of fact. Because the 49ers offensively have over the last few games have taken much better care of the football, this has allowed the defense to get quality time off of the field. This has resulted in the 49ers defensive units to be off of the field long enough to recharge their batteries so they can be rested well enough once they return to action. This has allowed for players such as NoVarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks amongst others to have better games. Eric Reid and Trumaine Brock have become forces in the 49ers secondary making the red and gold defense a much harder team to pass on.
Jaguars- The season has been no fun for the Jaguars or their fans. Most of the losses they have suffered this year have been bad ones. Losing the season opener 28-2 at home is usually not a harbinger of good things to follow. The Jaguars best game as a team this year was a 35-19 loss in Denver as they actually gave the Broncos a decent game in the Mile High City two weeks ago. The Jaguars only trailed 14-12 at halftime after falling behind by two touchdowns early. Aside from that game not much in the way of anything positive has happened for Jacksonville. The Jaguars are lead offensively by former Dolphins QB Chad Henne (Hen’ ee). He is backed up by Ricky Stanzi. The best offense player on the team is running back Maurice Jones-Drew who could be in his final days with the Jaguars with the NFL trading deadline coming up next week. Former Seahawks running back Justin Forsett backs up Jones-Drew. Receiving options for Henne include Justin Blackman, Mike Brown, Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders. Defensively the Jaguars are lead by Paul Posluszny, John Cyprien, Geno Hayes, Sen'Derrick Marks and Jason Babin. Veteran place kicker Josh Scobee handles the field goals and extra points.
Kingshark Line Prediction- This is a business trip as Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has clearly stated. The 49ers need to go into Wembley Stadium late Sunday afternoon (London time) and take care of business. They have no excuses not to. Look for the 49ers to be focused and handle their business accordingly here. It actually helps that they are designated as “the road team” for this game. 49ers 34 Jaguars 13.
Follow me on Twitter @Kingshark49