THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-6) AT TENNESSEE TITANS (9-5)
Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season gets underway on Thursday, December 23 (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network) as the San Francisco 49ers (8-6) visit the Tennessee Titans (9-5) in a key, late-season interconference matchup between teams currently in playoff position. Tennessee leads the AFC South and currently holds the No. 3 seed in its conference, while San Francisco currently stands as the No. 6 seed in the NFC. The 49ers lead the all-time regular-season series between the clubs, 9-5, including winning each of the past two meetings. In Week 15 of the 2017 season, San Francisco kicker ROBBIE GOULD converted a game-winning 45-yard field goal as time expired to secure the 25-23 victory. Quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO passed for 381 yards and a touchdown with a 106.8 rating in the win.
The 49ers enter Thursday having won each of their past two games, and five of their past six games overall. In their 31-13 victory over Atlanta last week, Garoppolo completed 18 of 23 pass attempts (78.3 percent) for 235 yards and a touchdown with a 123.7 rating. He has recorded a passer rating of 90-or-higher in eight consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league. In five of six road starts this season, Garoppolo has recorded a passer rating of 100-or-higher with no interceptions. Running back JEFF WILSON rushed for a season-high 110 yards and had his first rushing touchdown of the season in Week 15, marking his third-career game with at least 100 rushing yards. Running back ELIJAH MITCHELL leads the team with 759 rushing yards this season, the third-most among rookies. He has 440 scrimmage yards (88 per game) and three rushing touchdowns in five career road games.
Tight end GEORGE KITTLE has recorded at least 90 receiving yards in each of his past three games and at least 150 receiving yards in each of his past two road games. He aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with a touchdown catch. Since entering the league in 2017, Kittle ranks second among tight ends with 4,429 receiving yards, the third-most ever by a tight end in his first five seasons. Wide receiver DEEBO SAMUEL leads the team with 1,088 receiving yards and seven rushing touchdowns this season and has rushed for a touchdown in each of his past five games. He is one of three players in the league (JA’MARR CHASE and COOPER KUPP) with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 scrimmage touchdowns (12) this season.
Defensive lineman NICK BOSA currently ranks tied for second in the league with a career-high 15 sacks, while leading the NFL with 18 tackles for loss. He can become the fourth player with a sack in eight consecutive road games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. He aims for his seventh in a row overall with a sack. Linebacker FRED WARNER leads the team with 108 tackles, his fourth-consecutive season with at least 100 tackles since entering the league in 2018. In last week’s victory, he recorded his sixth-career fumble recovery.
Tennessee has a 5-2 record at home this season and is aiming for its first back-to-back 10-win seasons since 2007-08. Quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL has rushed for a touchdown in each of the past two games and he enters Week 16 ranking second among all quarterbacks with seven rushing touchdowns. Tannehill, who recorded seven rushing touchdowns in 2020, is the only quarterback in the league with at least seven rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Running back D’ONTA FOREMAN had a career-high 135 scrimmage yards (108 rushing, 27 receiving) last week and has rushed for at least 100 yards in two of his past three games. Wide receiver JULIO JONES has 23 receptions for 271 yards (135.5 per game) in two career games against San Francisco. In his past seven games on Thursday Night Football, Jones has totaled 916 receiving yards (130.9 per game).
Safety KEVIN BYARD has recorded at least five tackles in four of his past five games and he leads all safeties this season with 13 passes defensed, while tying for the lead among safeties with five interceptions. He is one of two AFC players (MARLON HUMPHREY) with at least seven passes defensed in each of the past five seasons. Linebacker HAROLD LANDRY leads the team with a career-high 11 sacks. He has recorded a sack in four of his past five home games. Linebacker BUD DUPREE had his second sack of the season last week and he aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with at least two tackles for loss.
This will mark the final Thursday Night Football game of the season and will be aired exclusively on NFL Network. Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver and Kristina Pink will be on the call.
For the Week 16 San Francisco-Tennessee capsule, click here.