NFL 2017 Week 14: San Francisco 49ers vs Houston Texans preview and prediction

The 49ers and Texans face off with little on the line for 2017, but a lot with much at stake for 2018.

The Jimmy Garoppolo era got started last week with a 15-14 win for the San Francisco 49ers over the Chicago Bears. Garoppolo may not have been able to push the 49ers into the endzone, but he consistently made plays and hit his receivers. Around him Carlos Hyde struggled to get things going on the ground but Marquise Goodwin caught all eight of his targets for 99 yards and Reuben Foster led the way on defense with seven tackles as Robbie Gould kicked them to victory.

The Texans lost a close game to the Tennessee Titans last week 24-13. Tom Savage threw a ridiculous 49 passes as the Texans struggled to get any offense going on the ground and the defense struggled to stop anything. DeAndre Hopkins was limited to just 80 yards, pulling in eight of his 14 targets, but the Titans ran for 7.9 yards a carry and almost 200 yards as they controlled the game.

Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy

San Francisco haven’t come out and said it yet, but Jimmy Garoppolo is their quarterback of the future. His 293 yards were the most impressive thing a 49ers QB has done in a long time and there is little doubt that he got the most out of his receivers last week. With so little time in the team his grasp of the playbook was good and if given a whole offseason with Kyle Shanahan there is little doubt that they could make magic together.

Bill O’Brien is not the man

The Houston Texans also have their quarterback of the future in Deshaun Watson, which may prevent them from making any radical changes in the front office or coaching staff, but during his time in Houston I think it has become clear that Bill O’Brien can do little to win with a team that isn’t at 100%. Houston have lost half a dozen of their best players this year and the result is a 4-8 record and misery on the field. His contract expires after this season and while there is much debate about if he should stay on, I think the Texans would be better off going in a different direction.

Playing for 2018

Both of these rosters are going to look radically different next season, with stars returning from injury, and high draft picks and free agents coming in to compete for jobs. These last few games are a terrific shop window for players like Andre Ellington or Marquise Goodwin for next season. They should see the ball, and if they can make things happen it will open up opportunities for 2018.

Matchup to Watch: Houston Texans offensive line vs San Francisco 49ers defensive line

The 49ers defensive line plays home to their last three first round picks. While the sacks haven’t come for them this season, DeForest Buckner leads the team with 17 QB hits (tied with the likes of Khalil Mack and Cam Jordan) and Solomon Thomas has eight tackles for loss. They will be a stiff test for a Texans offensive line that has struggled all year.

Fantasy Tip: 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin

Goodwin has looked like far more than just a downfield burner in recent weeks. Flashing good hands and nice route-running, he has picked up 260 yards in the last three games and one score. He seems to have a very good understanding with Garoppolo already and has a nice matchup against a soft Texans defense this week.

Betting Tip: 49ers (+2.5)

The 49ers have the better quarterback and neither team has a particularly great defense. In that situation if I can get the better QB and some points I’m happy.

Prediction: 49ers 24-20 Texans

The Jimmy Garoppolo era continues to gather momentum, but DeAndre Hopkins will give the 49ers a scare or two in this one.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.


I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.