Saturday, December 8, 2012

Week 14 AFC East game picks: Dolphins at 49ers

Lead writer Nick St. Denis and AFC East Daily contributors Dan Begnoche and Sean Donovan pick the Miami Dolphins' road battle with the NFC's San Francisco 49ers.

Nick's take:
Most of the talk surrounding anything 49ers involves quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but San Francisco has a lot going on defensively, too. Defensive end Aldon Smith leads the NFL with 17.5 sacks, and this week, he'll be up against rookie Jonathan Martin, who will get his first start at left tackle after playing the first 12 games of the season on the right side. That makes an already superior team that much stronger.
Prediction: 49ers 26, Dolphins 13

Sean's take:
The Dolphins' offensive struggles will find no reprieve in San Francisco, where a pair of Smiths are poised to take advantage of Jake Long's absence. On the other side of the ball, Miami must contend with the multidimensional Kaepernick and his arsenal of weapons in the passing game. The Dolphins keep it close early, but San Francisco ultimately takes the win.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Dolphins 10 (Sean's record: 29-9)

Dan's take:
The Dolphins have dropped four of five and are circling the drain in terms of a playoff bid. That makes for a bad week to run into San Francisco, which is only allowing 90 yards on the ground and has won five of six. Miami's line took a big hit this week with its loss of Long, and the Fins' overall success has seemed to be contingent on its success in the running game. Look for Kaepernick to outplay Ryan Tannehill and further solidify his role as the San Fran starter.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Dolphins 13 (Dan's record: 23-15)