Five Key Matchups: 49ers vs. Redskins

The San Francisco 49ers seek to extend their current five-game win streak in a cross country Week 7 road trip against the Washington Redskins. Here are five key matchups that can decide this NFC contest.

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1. CB Richard Sherman vs. WR Terry McLaurin

The defensive captain still continues to get back to his old form this season. Sherman has posted 19 total tackles, six passes defensed and two interceptions (one pick-six) on the season. Sherman currently holds an overall grade of 74.9 and a 75.6 coverage grade, both in the top 25 among cornerbacks per Pro Football Focus. The Redskins top target this season has been rookie wideout Terry McLaurin. The Ohio State product currently leads all rookies in receptions (23), receiving yards (408) and touchdowns (five). McLaurin is currently averaging 17.7 yards per reception through six weeks of the season.

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2. DL Arik Armstead vs. OL Brandon Scherff

Arik Armstead is off to the best start to a season in his NFL career. The fifth-year pro has posted 20 total tackles, four quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery through Week 6. Armstead currently holds the sixth-highest grade among edge rushers at 89.5 and holds the highest run defense grade at 91.0 per PFF rankings. Tasked with slowing him down is Redskins offensive lineman Brandon Scherff. Scherff has played in 254 offensive snaps and has only allowed one sack. Another member of the 2015 draft class, Scherff currently holds an 80.7 overall PFF grade and an 83.6 run blocking grade.

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3. TE George Kittle vs. DB Landon Collins

George Kittle proceeds to stake his claim as the league’s top tight end. Kittle has hauled in a team-leading 31 passes for 338 yards. The third-year tight end has turned into a key target on money downs with 12 of his 31 receptions coming on third down. Kittle also has registered 50 or more receiving yards in 10 consecutive game, the second-longest active streak in the NFL behind Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (12 games). Free agent addition Landon Collins has continued his stout play on the backend of the defense. Collins has the fifth-most passes defensed among safeties since 2015 with 34. On the season, Collins has 66 total tackles, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. Of note, the Redskins have allowed to 24th-most yards to opposing tight ends on the season with 342 yards allowed.

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4. DL Nick Bosa vs. OL Donald Penn

Nick Bosa continues to force his way into the backfield. The rookie is averaging a quarterback pressure every 9.35 snaps he plays, the most in the league. Bosa has nine tackles, 3.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the year. Standing in his way will be 14-year veteran Donald Penn, who has played in 356 offensive snaps this season while only allowing three sacks.

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5. S Jaquiski Tartt vs. RB Adrian Peterson

Jaquiski Tartt is having an strong start to the season and his health has been a key to the secondary’s success. The fifth-year pro is tied for fourth on the team in tackles (20) and he has one pass defensed. A huge key to stopping the Redskins on Sunday will be containing Adrian Peterson. Peterson is one of the most accomplished backs in the NFL. He ranks in the top three of every major category among active running backs. The 12-year veteran has amassed 53 career 100-yard games and has shown no signs of slowing down.

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