The San Francisco 49ers look to remain undefeated as they head to Washington D.C. to take on the Redskins. Washington is coming off of their first win of the season and aim to build momentum heading in to Week 7.
In preparation for the NFC matchup, we are joined by by "Voice of the 49ers" Greg Papa as we discuss several keys to a San Francisco victory in this week's installment of Four Downs.
Which 49ers player are you most eager to watch?
Keiana Martin: Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco's offense has been serviceable through its first five contests, but there's always room for improvement. The defense has managed to bail the team out of some tough situations. This week is an opportunity for the offense to find its groove and move the ball downfield. Despite the record, San Francisco has the 21st ranked passing offense through six weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Washington's defense is 24th against the pass and in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). We haven't seen much of Garoppolo taking shots downfield. I would be interested to see the quarterback open up the offense and getting guys like Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, and Richie James involved if the 49ers find themselves with a comfortable lead on Sunday.
It always starts on the front. I think the two outside guys, Ford and Bosa, against their edge guys, Morgan Moses and Donald Penn. I think the game is going to be won up front. Sure enough, their right guard Brandon Scherff is a really good player. But the rest of their offensive line is suspect. There are other players that are interesting - their young wide receiver Terry McLaurin is a good player. He'll be matched up with either Emmanuel Moseley or Richard Sherman. But where I think the 49ers can dominate the game is certainly Bosa and Ford against Penn and Moses.
Which position group will you be watching closest?
Keiana Martin: O-line
San Francisco is without both of its starting tackles and on the outside looking in, not many would have known following the Week 6 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Rookie Justin Skule made his third start at left tackle in place of Joe Staley (fibula) and has held his own since being thrust in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, third-year offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill got his first start last week in place of Mike McGlinchey (knee) and was the 49ers highest graded offensive lineman according to Pro Football Focus. They'll look to replicate their performance against Ryan Kerrigan and rookie edge rusher Montez Sweat.
Greg Papa: Receivers
I'll be watching San Francisco's wideouts because of the youth on the team and not having Deebo Samuel in this matchup. You'd like to see Pettis string a couple of good games in a row. He had the game winner against the Pittsburgh Steelers and didn't play as well against Cleveland, dropping a slant pass. He may have had his best game of the year last week against the Rams. He had three really tough catches, almost a fourth when he nearly scored on the baseline. So, you'd like to see him follow up. I don't think there's a weakness on this football team. The secondary is playing lights out. The linebackers are so fast and physical. The front and the o-line are doing well. The Redskins are going to challenge the young guys, but the wide receiver group is the one I always look at because of the youth of the team and being without Samuel in this game.
Surprise player who may have a big game?
Keiana Martin: Solomon Thomas
Thomas is coming off of arguably the best game of his career following the Week 6 win over the Rams. The former first round pick registered his second sack of the season and a quarterback hurry in 14 pass rush snaps. With D.J. Jones out with a hamstring injury, it's an opportunity for Thomas to see increased snaps at nose tackle, a position where he excelled on Sunday.
Greg Papa: Ross Dwelley
I think Dwelley might have a good game catching the ball. I believe you can have success with tight ends against the Redskins. George Kittle would be the first option. I think they're going to try to take him away. Landon Collins is going to be a mismatch for Kittle. I think Dwelley, in his hybrid role, was mainly in the fullback spot looking to block last week against the Rams. But I think there may be an opportunity to use him. He's a great catcher of the football and has great hands.
Keiana Martin: Sherman/Moseley Pick-six
The 49ers secondary has certainly benefited from San Francisco's improved pass rush. Simply put, I project San Francisco's defensive line forcing Case Keenum into an errant throw and either Sherman or Moseley (or both) make a house call at FedEx Field.
Greg Papa: Dee Ford Strip Sack
Dee Ford will create a strip sack and Nick Bosa will scoop it up and take it to the end zone. I think that could happen. Or maybe the other way around. That could happen, too. Ford could run 50 yards. But one of the ends will strip and the other will scoop and score.