Here are the top 10 storylines to track on Sunday.
10. Marks the Spot
Fifth-year defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks is an underrated player on Jacksonville’s roster. The 49ers have to account for the 6-foot-2, 294-pound defensive end. “Very under the radar,” said Greg Roman, San Francisco’s offensive coordinator. “He is off the count and getting consistent penetration. So while he’s not getting the numbers, he’s setting things up for everybody else quite a bit. We’re very aware of him.” Jim Harbaugh also noted that the Jaguars force pressure with their four-man defensive front and they’re able to hit the opposing quarterback on a weekly basis. The 49ers will have to account for Marks and company to ensure
9. Special Teams Dominance
The 49ers special teams units are steadily improving in 2013. Gunners like
8. Slippery Slope – If the field is wet at Wembley Stadium, the 49ers will have to “hunker down,” as Harbaugh often says, and find a way to win. In 2010, the last time San Francisco played in London, the field was moist and footing was an issue. The turf will likely be in a similar condition this week, but it might work in the 49ers favor, should the teams elect to go man-to-man in the trenches. The 49ers have the NFL’s No. 3 rushing attack (143.3 yards per game), while the Jaguars have the No. 32 rushing attack (63 yards per game).
7. Henne Goes for 300
Chad Henne has put up back-to-back 300-yard passing games and will look to air it out against a top-notch 49ers pass defense. The 49ers rank fifth in the league, allowing 219.4 passing yards per game. San Francisco has been able to limit big games from opposing quarterbacks in recent weeks and that’s without the pressure provided off the edge from All-Pro outside linebacker
The success in pass defense is team-wide, but fourth-year cornerback
5. Defending Blackmon
Jacksonville’s top play-maker is averaging 128 yards per game in three appearances in 2013. After serving a four-game suspension to start the season, Blackmon, a former No. 5 overall draft pick, has returned to become the Jaguars top option on offense. The 49ers will share the responsibility of stopping the 6-foot-1, 210-pound wideout. Expect all three of San Francisco’s top cornerbacks to matchup against Blackmon this Sunday.
4. Kap and VD's Chemistry
Colin Kaepernick and
3. D-line Depth
2. Pistol Plans
The zone-read was all the rage after San Francisco’s comfortable win in Tennessee. Kaepernick scored his first rushing touchdown of the season, a 20-yard run, which happened on a quarterback designed run. Perhaps even more impressive was how Roman called the play on a 3rd-and-7. The 49ers have held the pistol offensive plays in their back pocket for a rainy day and it could be a great time to showcase the running scheme against the Jaguars.
1. Enjoying the Moment
It’s not very often that you get to play on a stage like Wembley Stadium. The venue is historic and a win overseas will be a great experience for a 49ers team looking to keep pace in the NFC West. The 49ers are 1-1 all-time in international games and a win over the Jaguars would be memorable and a perfect send-off before the bye week.