Could the San Francisco 49ers seriously start the season off 3-0?
They are going to have a great shot of doing so next Sunday when they take on the hobbled Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi’s Stadium.
So, here are four reasons San Francisco will beat Pittsburgh in Week 3:
4. The Steelers’ Shaky Defense
The Steelers have always been known for being a stout defensive ballclub, but thus far in 2019, they have been anything but, as they rank 29th in the NFL in defense through the first two games.
Obviously, the sample size is very small, but there have been some very disturbing trends on Pittsburgh’s defense, and for a 49ers offense that has looked really good over the first couple of weeks, that could be problematic for the Steelers.
Not that San Francisco is some offensive dynamo like the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Niners have proven that they can score on teams that don’t have great defensive units.
3. Home Field
The 49ers have yet to play a home game this season, as both of their victories have come on the road (which makes their start even more impressive).
This will represent the Niners’ home opener, and you can bet the stadium will be rocking.
San Francisco is looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, so you can bet that the 49ers faithful are foaming at the mouth of the possibility of a 3-0 start.
For the first time in years, there is some legitimate excitement in the Bay, and Niners fans will show it on Sunday.
2. The 49ers’ Pass Rush
The 49ers have tallied seven sacks over their first couple of games, as their vicious group of pass rushers that includes DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and rookie Nick Bosa have lived up to their billing thus far.
With the Steelers playing without Ben Roethlisberger, the pass rush may end up being the key here, as Mason Rudolph has no experience and is not going to be prepared for what the Niners throw at him.
San Francisco will look to rattle the second-year quarterback, and if the 49ers can force him into some early mistakes, it could end up being a long day for the Steelers’ offense.
1. The Steelers’ Injuries
As I just said, the Steelers are sans Roethlisberger, and not just for this week, but for the rest of the season.
That is a tough pill to swallow, and it’s compounded by the fact that running back James Conner is dealing with a knee injury, and while he seems confident he will play this weekend, he probably won’t be 100 percent.
What appeared to be a loss when the 49ers’ schedule first came out now looks like a very winnable game, if not one that San Francisco really needs to win to assert itself in the NFC playoff picture.
The Steelers are not the Steelers anymore, and the 49ers may actually have more overall talent at the moment when you take injuries into consideration.