Matchup Analysis: San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: 49ers 25, Buccaneers 26

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

49ers Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Buccaneers defense.

One common theme emerged in the San Francisco backfield throughout 2018: nobody could stay healthy. Beginning in the preseason when Jerrick McKinnon tore his ACL and carrying on with Matt Brieda throughout the regular season, the injury bug bit this unit especially hard. The 49ers made an effort to acquire more depth at running back entering the 2019 season. Tevin Coleman signed as a free agent from Atlanta, and he will enter week one as the team's starting running back. Kyle Shannahan has called highly-efficient offenses at every stop throughout his career, and this season will likely be no different. Matt Bitonti gives San Francisco's offensive line a B+ grade for run blocking, which ranks them in the top 50 percent of the NFL. San Francisco's running game should benefit from both a clean bill of health as well as an improved passing game to keep defenses honest in 2019. The 49ers running backs will likely establish themselves as one of the league's most efficient rushing attacks this season, as they look to improve upon last year's mark of 4.5 yards-per-carry.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended the 2018 season as one of the league's most porous run defenses. Opposing running backs managed an impressive 4.7 yards-per-carry against the Buccaneers, and it's likely going to take far more than a coaching change to fix this defense. Todd Bowles will be calling the plays for Tampa Bay in 2019, but he will not have much defensive talent to work with. The defensive front-seven, aside from Ndamukong Suh and, potentially, rookie Devin White all rank as below-average run defenders. Three players stand out as exceptionally weak run defenders: defensive tackle Beau Allen, defensive end William Gholston, and linebacker Deone Bucannon. These three all rank amongst the league's worst starters at their respective positions against the run. There are no particularly strong run defenders in the secondary to help compensate for the weakness of Tampa Bay's front seven, which creates the perfect storm for Tampa Bay to struggle against the run when the 2019 season kicks off.

49ers Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Buccaneers defense.

Head coach Kyle Shannahan is widely regarded as one of the league's best and most creative offensive minds. His unrelenting use of pre-snap motion and play-action has given defenses fits for years. In 2019, Shannahan hopes to finally have his starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo healthy for a full 16 games. In 2018, Garoppolo tore his ACL on an impromptu rushing attempt in week three. This injury forced C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens into action. While the former struggled mightily, the latter posted some surprisingly strong numbers. Mullens finished the season with the 7th best net-yards-per-attempt in the NFL, with a mark of 7.39. Much is expected of Garoppolo given the investment made in his success by San Francisco, not only in the form of a massive contract but the plethora of weapons they have placed around him. Tight end George Kittle returns for year two following a record-breaking rookie season capped by a 149-yard outburst in week 17. Another second-year player, Dante Pettis, played sparingly to start the 2018 season, but he came on strong with 4 touchdowns over his final 5 games of his rookie year. Additionally, the 49ers spent 2 of their first 3 draft picks on wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. How much these two will be involved is unclear, but they will undoubtedly play a factor this season. Expectations for the San Francisco passing offense are sky-high entering week one of the 2019 season with a full bill of health and some shiny new weapons to throw the ball to.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the 2019 season with a retooled defense. The Bucs open the season with a new starter at 7 of 11 positions on this side of the ball, and they'll be running an entirely new system under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Tampa Bay's pass rush will likely struggle once again in 2019, as the unit is made up almost exclusively of career underperformers (aside from Ndamukong Suh.) Some serious creativity will be required of Bowles to effectively pressure the quarterback here in week one. At linebacker, the Bucs drafted Devin White with the fifth overall pick this year with the explicit intention of building around him for the foreseeable future. In 2019, however, the outlook is bleak at the second level of Tampa Bay's defense. Deone Buccanon is slated to start alongside White at inside linebacker to start the season, and surprisingly, the former safety has struggled in coverage in recent years. In the secondary, all four starters return from Tampa Bay's 2018 roster that failed at every turn to stop opposing passing attacks. Expect this trend to carry over into week one of the 2019 season, as no substantial changes have been made to make a considerable difference.

Buccaneers Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the 49ers defense.

Tampa Bay has been searching for an answer at running back for years. The team used a second-round pick in last year's NFL Draft on Ronald Jones, Jr. hoping that he would establish himself as an NFL starter. Unfortunately, Jones, Jr. has failed to seize the starting job for the second straight season. Peyton Barber enters the 2019 season as the team's starting running back, but his career 3.8 yards-per-carry leaves much to be desired. The team's offensive line will be doing Barber and company very few favors in 2019. Matt Bitonti ranks Tampa Bay as one of the league's low-tier offensive lines with uncertainty everywhere except left guard and center. Even under new direction, the outlook is bleak for the Buccaneers' rushing attack. Bruce Arians' offensive genius is in scheming an advanced passing game, not running game. When Arians coached the Cardinals for five years before a brief retirement, the team consistently posted average-to-below-average numbers on the ground. Tampa Bay will likely struggle on the ground in 2019 barring an unexpected breakout.

Where the 49ers lack in talent defending the pass, they make up for it defending the run. The team's front four ranks as one of the most disruptive units in the NFL, as represented by its impressive tally of 81 tackles for loss in 2018. While the group of linebackers struggles to defend the run, the run-oriented safety unit helps compensate for their shortcomings. Jaquiski Tartt is one of the league's best run-stopping safeties, and his deployment within the 49ers defense helps maximize his talent. K'Waun Williams also chips in as a productive run-stopping cornerback in nickel packages. It will undoubtedly be challenging to improve upon last season when the 49ers allowed just 4.1 yards-per-carry, good for 8th-best in the NFL, but significant improvement in the trenches with Dee Ford and Nick Bosa makes this a legitimate possibility.

Buccaneers Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the 49ers defense.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lured Bruce Arians out of retirement to coach the team in 2019 following another disappointing season under Dirk Koetter. Bruce Arians made a name for himself constructing prolific aerial attacks in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis before being hired as the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals. Now, the Buccaneers will bring in Arians in the hopes that he can once again turn this offense into one of the league's best. 2019 is shaping up as a make-or-break season for quarterback Jameis Winston, as the team has been noncommittal regarding his future with the team beyond this season. Luckily, Winston will be flanked by one of the league's top group of pass-catchers. Mike Evans has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first 5 seasons as a pro, and he posted a career-high 11.0 yards-per-target in 2018. Chris Godwin will start opposite Mike Evans this season, and following a rookie campaign in which he found the endzone seven times, expectations are high in 2019. Lastly, tight end O.J. Howard has seized taken the starting job and ran with it early in 2019. Howard was one of the highest-rated tight end prospects in recent memory when he entered the league in 2017, but he failed to secure the starting job away from Cameron Brate until now. The young tight end has always impressed on tape and this season will serve as his first significant opportunity to contribute to this offense.

The 49ers made a handful of offseason moves to bolster their pass rush, headlined by a trade for edge rusher Dee Ford. Ford registered 13.0 sacks and 29 hits on the quarterback in 2018, good for 7th and 5th in the NFL, respectively. Additionally, San Francisco selected arguably the draft class' most talented pass rusher, Nick Bosa, with the second overall pick in the 2019 draft. This defensive front is poised to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks all season long, and pressure is a great way to neutralize a prolific passing attack. Unfortunately, the coverage unit behind this defensive line may be one of the league's weakest. In 2018, the only linebacker to post near-average numbers in coverage was Fred Warner. Aside from Warner, both Kwon Alexander and Mark Nzeocha lagged far behind the league average benchmarks for coverage linebackers. In the secondary, Richard Sherman proved he still has some gas in the tank with arguably the most impressive season in coverage of any player currently on the 49ers roster. Sadly, aside from K'Waun Williams, the 49ers defensive backs struggled mightily to defend the pass. If the front-four is unable to create pressure, the secondary will likely be in for a long opening game in week one.

Jimmy Garoppolo (FanDuel: $7200, DraftKings: $5800)

1PROJ-Dodds24352651.71270.120.420.420.4 (H=51)20.4 (H=63)
1PROJ-Tremblay20322391.61360.118.618.618.6 (H=43)18.6 (H=54)
1PROJ-Bloom21322691.60.811019.219.219.2 (H=46)19.2 (H=57)

Tevin Coleman (FanDuel: $6300, DraftKings: $5000)

1PROJ-Dodds12540.42.3180.110.212.511.4 (H=21)12.5 (H=31)
1PROJ-Tremblay11500.31.7130.29.31110.2 (H=17)11 (H=25)
1PROJ-Bloom10470.32.0170.18.810.89.8 (H=16)10.8 (H=24)

Kyle Juszczyk (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds1301.0801.12.11.6 (H=0)2.1 (H=2)
1PROJ-Tremblay0201.7150.12.343.2 (H=3)4 (H=7)
1PROJ-Bloom1301.0901.22.21.7 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)

Jerick McKinnon (FanDuel: $5700, DraftKings: $4300)

1PROJ-Dodds0000.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0000.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0000.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Dante Pettis (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $5400)

1PROJ-Dodds3.8480.30006.610.48.5 (H=12)10.4 (H=21)
1PROJ-Tremblay3.5510.40007.5119.3 (H=14)11 (H=23)
1PROJ-Bloom4.0570.30007.511.59.5 (H=15)11.5 (H=25)

Jaron Brown (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3100)

1PROJ-Dodds2.8340.20004.67.46 (H=9)7.4 (H=20)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0270.20003.95.94.9 (H=6)5.9 (H=13)

Deebo Samuel (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $4000)

1PROJ-Dodds2.7320.20004.47.15.8 (H=8)7.1 (H=14)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.9250.20003.75.64.7 (H=5)5.6 (H=9)
1PROJ-Bloom3.0340.20004.67.66.1 (H=8)7.6 (H=16)

Travis Benjamin (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3300)

1PROJ-Dodds1.7260.20103.95.64.8 (H=6)5.6 (H=11)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.7250.21404.15.85 (H=6)5.8 (H=12)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0270.10003.35.34.3 (H=5)5.3 (H=10)

Kendrick Bourne (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds1.3160.10002.23.52.9 (H=2)3.5 (H=5)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.4170.10002.33.73 (H=2)3.7 (H=6)
1PROJ-Bloom1.0110.10001.72.72.2 (H=1)2.7 (H=3)

Richie James (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0.9100.10001.62.52.2 (H=1)2.6 (H=3)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000.1 (H=0)0.1 (H=0)

Jalen Hurd (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Trent Taylor (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

George Kittle (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $6600)

1PROJ-Dodds5.6690.59.915.512.7 (H=22)15.5 (H=34)
1PROJ-Tremblay4.9640.48.813.711.3 (H=18)13.7 (H=28)
1PROJ-Bloom5.0710.510.115.112.6 (H=22)15.1 (H=33)

Jordan Reed (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $3600)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Robbie Gould (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


San Francisco 49ers (FanDuel: $3700, DraftKings: $2200)

1PROJ-Dodds25.53912.310.600. (H=13)6.5 (H=23)
1PROJ-Tremblay25.254082.51.30.600. (H=20)8.2 (H=34)

Tom Brady (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $6000)

1PROJ-Dodds25362741.80.812020.320.320.3 (H=50)20.3 (H=61)
1PROJ-Tremblay23362641.81240.120.420.420.4 (H=50)20.4 (H=61)
1PROJ-Bloom24332561.90.5110.120.620.620.6 (H=51)20.6 (H=62)

LeSean McCoy (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $4600)

1PROJ-Dodds7230.31.9140.16.187.1 (H=10)8 (H=15)
1PROJ-Tremblay5190.11.0703.24.23.7 (H=3)4.2 (H=5)
1PROJ-Bloom7250.42.0110. (H=11)8.6 (H=18)

Ronald Jones (FanDuel: $5600, DraftKings: $3900)

1PROJ-Dodds7260.31.060565.5 (H=6)6 (H=11)
1PROJ-Tremblay7300.22.0140. (H=10)8.2 (H=19)
1PROJ-Bloom4160.10.0002.22.22.2 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)

Dare Ogunbowale (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds2901.81402.34.13.2 (H=3)4.1 (H=7)
1PROJ-Tremblay1400.7500.91.61.2 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)
1PROJ-Bloom2704.0310. (H=11)8.4 (H=26)

Mike Evans (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $7900)

1PROJ-Dodds5.6810.500011.116.713.9 (H=24)16.7 (H=33)
1PROJ-Tremblay6.3970.500012.71915.8 (H=30)19 (H=41)
1PROJ-Bloom6.0850.500011.517.514.5 (H=25)17.5 (H=36)

Chris Godwin (FanDuel: $6900, DraftKings: $6200)

1PROJ-Dodds4.7640.40008.813.511.2 (H=19)13.5 (H=29)
1PROJ-Tremblay4.6600.40008.41310.7 (H=17)13 (H=27)
1PROJ-Bloom6.0640.40008.814.811.8 (H=20)14.8 (H=34)

Justin Watson (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3200)

1PROJ-Dodds1.4150.10002.13.52.8 (H=2)3.5 (H=5)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.3170.10002.33.63 (H=2)3.6 (H=5)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

O.J. Howard (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $5000)

1PROJ-Dodds4.0490.47.311.39.3 (H=14)11.3 (H=26)
1PROJ-Tremblay3.7470.47.110.89 (H=13)10.8 (H=24)
1PROJ-Bloom4.0610.48.512.510.5 (H=18)12.5 (H=31)

Cameron Brate (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $2800)

1PROJ-Dodds1.7160. (H=4)4.5 (H=9)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.9170. (H=4)4.8 (H=10)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0170. (H=4)4.9 (H=11)

Matt Gay (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FanDuel: $3500, DraftKings: $2200)

1PROJ-Dodds24.33592.20.90.600. (H=17)7.3 (H=28)
1PROJ-Tremblay24.253552.110.600.4888 (H=20)8 (H=33)