One of the premier match-ups in this game will be in the trenches. And while most are thinking Justin Smith versus Nate Solder, the more appealing and game-determining match could come between 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin and Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
Wilfork is undoubtedly one of the marquee players the Niners are preparing for. The veteran defender for the Pats has been having another outstanding year, among the best at his position.
Both Wilfork and Goodwin are former Pro Bowlers with championship rings to call their own. On Sunday Night Football, we will get to see them go head to head in one of the game’s defining match-ups.
Wilfork is just as capable collapsing the pocket on a pass play as he is stuffing the run. Goodwin will be asked to neutralize him in both respects, which will be no easy task. If Wilfork is having a good day, the 49ers won’t be able to establish the run, which could be devastating to their game plan.
The 49ers also like to run a lot of read-option plays and Pistol variations that demand seconds in order for it to develop. If Goodwin cannot contain Wilfork in the middle, a lot of those plays are susceptible to disruption, which could result in big plays for the Patriots defense.
Among many, this will be a key match-up to watch on primetime this Sunday.