After two consecutive primetime matchups, the 49ers vaunted defense get they’re shot at an improved Vikings offense led by Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson.
Will this be a high scoring affair? With Patrick Willis and Justin Smith at the helm, look for the 49ers to show why this defense is considered the best in football.
While Christian Ponder has made clear improvements, there will be struggles for the sophomore against an improved 49ers secondary.
This 49ers defense relies on the strength of their defensive line, but it’s the secondary that has looked impressive.
The same old gang returned. Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown have proved both steady and consistent, but the continued improvement of Chris Culliver, in addition to newcomer Perrish Cox, has made this 49ers secondary quite scary for opposing offenses.
This is why the Vikings will try to attack the 49ers with Adrian Peterson, but the former All Pro is still not fully healed from his injury.
In addition, the 49ers boast one of the top run stuffing units in the league.
How can the Vikings stay in this game? In simple terms, they must have a big game defensively.
If the Vikings can force Alex Smith into turnovers, this may be a closer game than many anticipated.
But don’t expect Alex Smith to chalk up the ball. In 216 consecutive passes, Smith has not thrown for an interception.
This goes the same for the 49ers team. Jim Harbaugh runs his ship tight. There discipline is something to admire.
It may even be harder for the Vikings, after starting weakside linebacker Erin Henderson was ruled out of Sunday’s matchup with the 49ers.
Henderson was key, as he played in nickel packages while starting middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley was subbed out.
Are the odds with the away team? Of course, but this is still a game that may produce a surprise or two.
Prediction: 49ers 28 Vikings 13