The San Francisco 49ers are facing a tough matchup with their Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams are looking to bounce back from sub-par showings in week 1, with Seattle being the clear favorite to win and cover a 14 point spread. Today we’re looking at some of the big questions heading into the game and whether the 49ers can pull off an upset.
Will DE Aaron Lynch Be Active?
Aaron Lynch was a surprise member of the inactive list on Sunday against the Panthers. The movie is even more perplexing after an interview in which HC Kyle Shanahan said that Lynch being inactive didn’t have to do with any kind of an injury. Which leads me to believe that he won't be active in Week 2 either.
Will the Defensive Line Have a Better Game?
The Panthers have never really had a stellar offensive line, and they have put few resources into improving it. The assumption was that the Niner defensive line, with three first-round picks and numerous free-agent additions, would have a big game and cause trouble for QB Cam Newton. That didn’t quite come to pass, with only QB hits and pressures on seven of Newton's 27 dropbacks. After the game, DeForest Buckner mentioned that the group needed to build chemistry and learn to play together, and that makes sense. The group, and the team in general, is incredibly young. They will need to learn to work together better and if they can, should have a big game against a Seattle's offensive line that is porous at best.
How Will Kyle Shanahan Use the Speed They Have on Offense?
HC and “Offensive Genius” Kyle Shanahan had a rough showing as his first outing as head coach. He called the game bravely, trying a few times to convert on fourth down, but there were sloppy play calls and unnecessary penalties. They know head to Seattle and face a markedly better defense. Thankfully Shanahan and GM John Lynch have loaded up on speed in the draft and free agency. The signing of WR Marquise Goodwin and acquisitions of WRs Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden Jr. give Shanahan some good weapons to use against a Seattle secondary that doesn’t do well against speedy receivers. Add in the speed of RBs Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert and there should be plenty to give SEA some headaches.
Can QB Brian Hoyer Perform in the Noise of Centurylink Stadium?
On the other side of the coin, QB Brian Hoyer had a horrendous game against the Panthers. Hoyer was sacked multiple times and was lacking accuracy most of the game. It’s easy to say everything falls on Shanahan, but he can only call the plays. It’s up to the team, and Hoyer in particular, to execute on those plays. It will be important for Hoyer to try and stay upright if the team wants any chance of winning.
How Will The Linebacker Rotation Play Out?
The nail in the coffin for the Niners on Sunday was the injury to LB Reuben Foster. It not only sucked the life out of the defense, but the crowd at Levis as well. Thankfully its being reported that the injury is a high ankle sprain, with no ligament damage. He should be out anywhere from a couple games to a month, which is a miracle considering the injuries to LB NaVorro Bowman. Fosters absence leaves a big hole in the middle of the field though. LB Ray-Ray Armstrong did his best to fill in, but ultimately couldn’t live up to Fosters fire. How the team will compensate for his absence remains to be seen. The team cut OT John Theus earlier today to make room to sign LB Elijah Lee. Lee met with the team in a pre draft interview, so the two sides should be pretty familiar with each other. I’d expect a rotation with Lee and Armstrong, as well as some looks from S Jaquiski Tartt as a “money” linebacker type.
What questions do you have heading into Week 2? Let us know on twitter and stay tuned for more great content here at 49ersHUB!