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When Tampa Bay Has the Ball:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Josh Freeman at quarterback have been slow starters, but strong finishers. They won't have that luxury this week against the 3-1 San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher in 26 straight games, so you can bet the run game won't be a factor for the Buccaneers this weekend. That means Freeman will need to get the ball to Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow and Arrelious Benn. Good luck.
The 49er defense has been aggressive and smart this year. Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Carlos Rogers are playing as good as any players at their position, giving San Francisco the core on defense to win big games.
When San Francisco Has the Ball:
The 49ers aren't pretty, but they are winning. And that's all that matters.
San Francisco gets it done with a mix of Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Vernon Davis and steady play from Alex Smith at quarterback. A healthy Gore will be a huge factor this week if he can match his 127 yard output from last week on a bum ankle.
Tampa has been weak against the pass this year in coverage, but their pass rushing skills are off the charts. Against a 49er offensive line that has struggled this year, the Tampa defense line play will be a huge factor.
The difference maker this week will be Vernon Davis. The Buccaneers simply have no one who can cover him.
Prediction: San Francisco 28, Tampa Bay 21