The 49ers will face one of their biggest challenges on Christmas Day when they take on the Baltimore Ravens at Levi's Stadium in Week 16.
And although the NFC's top team knows the AFC-leading Ravens are a worthy opponent, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan reminded them this week.
“Different team, same mentality, same mentality as it looks like it's on film,” George Kittle told Ravens reporters on Friday. “They'll–I don't want to say bullies, [but] They will bring it to every play. They will be physical.
“One great stat that Coach Shanahan showed us is that [Baltimore is] The number one defense in the first quarter in the NFL because they kind of surprise you with the way they'll hit you in the face, and I respect them a lot for that.”
The Ravens' defense has allowed the fewest first-quarter points per game this season at 1.8. The next closest team is the Jacksonville Jaguars, with 2.4 first quarter points allowed per game. San Francisco's defense ranks 10th with a 3.8 rating.
Relatively speaking, the 49ers offense has thrived in the first quarter this season. The unit's 6.6 first-quarter points per game ranks third in the NFL — behind Baltimore (6.9) and the Dallas Cowboys (7.7).
The stats point to what should be a strong start to Monday's game, and Kittle knows it will be a tough game. From the running backs duo of Roquan Smith and Patrick Quinn to Baltimore's elite pass rush, the 49ers' offense has its hands full.
“I think they have a lot of really talented players,” Kittle said of the Ravens’ defense. “… They're ready and prepared for this game, and it's going to be a fun game for us.”
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