NFL Game Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs Buffalo Bills

Normally this would be your usual run-of-the-mill game preview. However, with the attention that Colin Kaepernick has gathered over the last few weeks this match-up becomes even more interesting.

The Bills (3-2) are in the midst of a three game winning streak this season. While the passing game has struggled, the services of LeSean McCoy on the ground have been everything this team has needed. Factor that in with the number five scoring defense and you have a similar look to some of the more successful teams in history.

The 49ers (1-4) have struggled in Chip Kelly’s debut with the team. Kelly decided this week to turn the keys over to former starter Colin Kaepernick. In case you live in a shoe box, Kaepernick made headlines when he chose to take a knee during the national anthem to demonstrate against social injustices.

Since then, multiple players throughout the league have taken their own stance on the situation. The NFL has risen as a new social outlet for players and fans. Kaepernick was the team’s number two option the first five weeks of the season but will have the opportunity to hold the job down this week.

Let’s take a look at the key’s to the game.

Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during a NFL game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Keys….

Stopping LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy had a rough season to his standards in 2015. He was held to only three touchdowns and held to under 1000 yards for the third time in his career. This season however has a healthier McCoy and he’s showing it by the week. As of now, McCoy’s 447 rushing yards are fourth in the NFL and his 5.3 yards per carry rank fifth among backs with more than 50 carries.

If the 49ers expect to win the time of possession battle, they’ll need to put a stop to McCoy.

Which Kaepernick Will We See?

Aside from the social media, Colin Kaepernick has had it rough the past two years. He was benched last year in favor of Blaine Gabbert and struggled to be the dynamic player he was from 2012-2014.

Chip Kelly gets the feeling that the old Kaepernick is back and can help rejuvenate this struggling team. If that’s the case, the Bills will have to be on the lookout for the read-option and Kaepernick’s ability to go deep.

Can Tyrod Throw?

Much like Kaepernick in 2015, Tyrod Taylor’s 2016 season has been a bust. He’s struggled to throw and he’s not making the same impact he was last year. After signing a big deal in the off-season, the Bills are going to need more from Taylor.

He can be a dual threat quarterback when called upon. The 49ers defense is bad enough where Taylor could have a big game on the ground and through the air. This may be the game for him to put it all together.

Predictions

This game will be better than most expect. While Chip Kelly has struggled to win, he finally has the quarterback he’s been looking for to run his offense. The Bills have looked good in their last three games but they also show signs of weakness. This game ultimately goes to the 49ers.

49ers 30 – Bills 23

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