MNF PREVIEW: BUFFALO BILLS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

BY ADAM GREENE

If you just looked at the teams’ records, you might be fooled into thinking this was another forgettable Monday Night Football match up, but that’s unfair to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Niners have had a hellish season with injuries, but have fought hard to stay in the hunt. And now they’re doing it outside of their own state, forced to play their home games in Arizona because of lockdown measures in Northern California. Still, don’t count them out as they host the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills on MNF.

BUFFALO BILLS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-1, O/U: 47)

Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Kickoff: Dec. 7, 8:15 p.m. EST

Broadcast: ESPN

THE HISTORY

The most interesting aspect of this rivalry might be the games that did not happen. If you’re an old school viewer (i.e. my age), you remember that ESPN’s Chris Berman spent the late 80s and early 90s predicting a Bills vs 49ers Super Bowl match up every year. And nearly every year it happened, with Berman correctly predicting one of the teams that played for the Vince Lombardi for six consecutive seasons. It was quite a run for Boomer, but the actual head to head battle he longed for never happened.

In real life, the teams have met just 12 times with the series tied 6-6. Their last meeting was on Oct. 16, 2016 with the Bills winning 45-16. Then Bills QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns, with LeSean McCoy adding 140 yards and three TDs on the ground. Colin Kaepernick, playing in his final games with the Niners, threw for 187 yards and a TD and led San Fran in rushing, picking up 66 yards on the ground.

BUFFALO BILLS (8-3)

The Bills come into this game after an impressive 27-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Josh Allen threw for 157 yards, one touchdown and a pick while Devin Singletary rushed for 82 yards. Gabriel Davis caught three passes for 79 yards and a score. The defense picked off Justin Herbert once and sacked him three times.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-6)

For the 49ers, last week’s season sweep clinching 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams was a season saver. The victory halted a three-game losing streak and Nick Mullens performed well enough not to lose, throwing for 252 yards and an interception. The defense won the day for the 49ers, sacking Jared Goff twice and forcing four turnovers, including two Goff interceptions.

THE PICK

It’s a testament to Kyle Shanahan and the team he’s managed to cobble together in spite of the injuries that San Fran is favored in this game. Buffalo barley lost in their last trip to the West Coast on a Hail Mary. I don’t think it’ll happen twice and they are clearly the better overall team. Bills 27, 49ers 16

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