This week the Bucs travel West to San Francisco to match up against the improving 3-1 49ers. This is a good yardstick game for the Bucs, as they are 3-1 as well as being tied for the division lead. In order to beat San Fran, the defense will have to shut down RB Frank Gore. QB Alex Smith doesn’t give you much to worry about, so the box should be loaded with Tampa defenders all day. If they shut down Gore watch for Smith to make mistakes, and throw easy picks. Tampa’s D should be able to pressure Smith regularly, and that will cause the 49ers big problems. Don’t rule out a sluggish effort though, as this is one of the longest trips in the NFL, and going West is always tough for East coast teams.
Offensively, Josh Freeman just has to be himself. Team ahead, play it safe. Team behind, let is loose. He is very capable, and seems to be on his way to a solid NFL career. Winning is his game, and he is very good at finding ways to pull out victories. The 49ers run D isn’t bad, so look for RB LeGarrett Blount to get short, but steady gains. Sticking to the run will help wear down the 49ers, and can open it up for big plays down the field. I think the long plane ride and San Frans D will be too much for the Bucs, who will lose 24-17. Check back for my game recap when the week’s action is over.
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