The two hottest teams in football will square off on Sunday in what is expected to be the best matchup in week 13. The San Francisco 49ers will look to cool off MVP candidate Lamar Jackson who is coming off a dominant performance against the Rams. However, as great as Jackson has been this season, he isn't the only cause for concern with the Ravens.
Their defense is just as much of a headache as Jackson is. Even Kyle Shanahan see's them as a great challenge when talking about them at today's presser.
“For a while, they attack, they try to get after you every play. You’ve got to be ready for anything. You see stuff week-in and week-out from them on tape that you haven’t seen for a while. They can play coverage, they can do crazy blitzes, they can play any personnel grouping. It’s usually some controlled chaos by them and it’s a lot of feast or famine. Your players have got to be ready or you’re going to have some really bad looks. When you do have the right look, you’ve got to capitalize on it.”
Taking on the Ravens will be the toughest task the 49ers will have faced all season. As great as their offense is, the Ravens' defense must not be overlooked. That is the approach Shanahan is taking leading up to Sunday. This is where the adaptability of Shanahan will pay off the most. The defense of the Ravens is not an easy code to crack.
Shanahan will have to decipher it as the game goes along. Of course, running the football will want to be the first goal to accomplish. That way the 49ers can keep Jackson on the sideline and limit his possessions. The overall team speed of the Ravens is astounding. San Francisco's offense will need to alleviate the pressure of their defense and allow them some time to rest.
They will be chasing a lot of these lightning quick players, so controlling the time of possession is key for the 49ers' offense. It'll also wear down the Ravens on defense. However, establishing the run will not be easy. The Ravens will be expecting the 49ers to do so and throw multiple looks at them, like how Shanahan pointed out at this presser.
It's all about being ready to go on Sunday to avoid any mistakes. The room for error is extremely minimal for the 49ers. They are already at a disadvantage since they have to travel to the east coast and play at 10am PST. The time switch is sure to mess with their body clocks, which means they could start the game groggy. Luckily for the 49ers, they have Shanahan who has dismantled every defense the team has come across this season.