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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers: Analysis, lineups

The Bucs face dual challenges, coming off a short week following a Monday night game and traveling across the country. To further complicate matters, the 49ers are playing well, coming off a win at Philadelphia in which they rallied from a 23-3 second-half deficit. The Bucs will try to make quarterback Alex Smith uncomfortable with their pass rush. And Josh Freeman must be sharp and attack the 49ers' weakness — their secondary.

Probable starters

Bucs offense

WR: Mike Williams 19

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Jeremy Zuttah 76

C: Jeff Faine 52

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: Jeremy Trueblood 65

TE: Kellen Winslow 82

WR: Arrelious Benn 17

QB: Josh Freeman 5

RB: LeGarrette Blount 27

FB: Earnest Graham 34

Bucs defense

LDE: Michael Bennett 71

DT: Gerald McCoy 93

DT: Brian Price 92

RDE: Adrian Clayborn 94

SLB: Dekoda Watson 56

MLB: Mason Foster 59

WLB: Geno Hayes 54

LCB: Aqib Talib 25

RCB: Ronde Barber 20

SS: Sean Jones 26

FS: Corey Lynch 41

Special teams

P: Michael Koenen 9

PK: Connor Barth 10

KO: Michael Koenen 9

PR/KR: Preston Parker 87

49ers offense

WR: Michael Crabtree 15

LT: Joe Staley 74

LG: Mike Iupati 77

C: Jonathan Goodwin 59

RG: Chilo Rachal 62

RT: Anthony Davis 76

TE: Vernon Davis 85

WR: Josh Morgan 84

QB: Alex Smith 11

RB: Frank Gore 21

FB: Bruce Miller 49

49ers defense

LDE: Ray McDonald 91

NT: Ricky Jean Francois 95

RDE: Justin Smith 94

LB: Ahmad Brooks 55

LB: NaVorro Bowman 53

LB: Patrick Willis 52

LB: Parys Haralson 98

LCB: Carlos Rogers 22

RCB: Tarell Brown 25

SS: Donte Whitner 31

FS: Dashon Goldson 38

Special teams

P: Andy Lee 4

PK: David Akers 2

KO: David Akers 2

PR/KR: Ted Ginn 19

Stat pack



4 p.m., Candlestick Park, San Francisco | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: 49ers by 3; 41½

49ers' best offensive player

Frank Gore, right, in just his seventh season, is third in franchise history with 6,689 rushing yards, 655 shy of No. 1 Joe Perry (7,344). He's a powerful runner capable of breaking tackles, but he combines that with elusiveness that makes him a particularly difficult player to take down.

49ers' best defensive player

All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, left, was the 2007 defensive rookie of the year, and he has done nothing but dominate since. A tackling machine and constant presence around the ball, Willis leads the NFL in tackles since his rookie season (623).

Prediction

Bucs 23, 49ers 21

What the 49ers do best

Play the run. The 49ers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 26 consecutive games, meaning the Bucs will have to find creative ways to use LeGarrette Blount.

You can beat the 49ers if …

You exploit their pass defense in hopes it will open things up for the running game. The 49ers have allowed five pass plays of 40 yards or longer, second most in the NFL.

The Bucs must avoid …

Another mistake-filled performance. Against a defense as fierce as the 49ers', a game full of penalties — such as Monday night's against the Colts — will create long down-and-distance situations that Tampa Bay likely won't overcome.

avg. Rushing yards

avg. passing yards

avg. total yards

avg. Rushing yards allowed

avg. passing yards allowed

avg. total yards allowed

Bucs

49ers

74 (4th)

101 (11th)

93.2 (22nd)

117 (11th)

177.5 (29th)

235.8 (17th)

284 (27th)

267 (21st)

270.7 (28th)

352.8 (17th)

358 (17th)

368 (20th)

Injury report

BUCS Out: S Devin Holland (back), T James Lee (knee), TE Luke Stocker (knee), WR Sammie Stroughter (foot). Doubtful: LB Zac Diles (hamstring). Questionable: LB Quincy Black (ankle). Probable: DE Michael Bennett (groin), DE Tim Crowder (knee), RB Earnest Graham (hamstring), TE Zack Pianalto (calf), CB Aqib Talib (knee).

49ers Out: CB Tramaine Brock (hand), WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Moran Norris (fibula). Doubtful: DT Isaac Sopoaga (infection). Questionable: CB Shawntae Spencer (toe). Probable: WR Michael Crabtree (foot), RB Frank Gore (ankle), G Mike Iupati (neck), C Adam Snyder (hamstring).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers: Analysis, lineups 10/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 8, 2011 6:28pm]
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