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Game Plan: Let the defense suffocate and don't get stale on offense
The San Francisco 49ers old school style has helped them emerge as one of the biggest surprise teams this season. On offense, they pound the ball on the ground, but can air it out when necessary. On defense, they suffocate you.
The 49ers had the best rushing defense in football, and that's the reason they've been such a success. By limiting the rush, San Francisco can play comfortable defense. When you let a squad this good get comfortable, I don't care who you are, you're not scoring the ball.
On offense, San Francisco relies heavily on Frank Gore. The veteran running back is a freight train, fighting for every last inch. If we learned anything from the 49ers' 36-32 win over the Saints, it's that in crunch time Alex Smith knows how to throw.
Even without a standout No.1 option Smith always has Vernon Davis to throw to.
With a new confidence that comes in having a reliable fourth-quarter quarterback, San Francisco just got that much more dangerous.
X-Factor: Frank Gore
When these two teams last met, November 13, Frank Gore was a non-factor as he tweaked his knee and was out after six caries. The 49ers still won that game. It'll be a brand new offensive game for San Francisco, and the surprise attack of Gore gives them a brand new edge.