(By Daisy Barringer)
Downright adorable confession: I got a new puppy this week and as a result have barely had time to bathe, much less keep up on football. Lest you think I am being dramatic, I literally flooded my kitchen this morning after plugging the sink to wash a toy and then leaving the apartment for forty minutes with the dog. Sleep deprivation is a thing, apparently. Which is why this week's preview is tardy.
Nonetheless, excuses aside, Monkey (my puppy) will have his very first babysitter this Sunday so that I can go to Candlestick to watch the 49ers take on the Houston Texans. The Houston Texans who SHOULD have beat the stupid Seahawks last week, but totally blew it in the second half. The Houston Texans who are 2-2 and probably a little pissed off at themselves and coming into SF with a vengeance.
So let's breakdown what the Niners are facing, shall we?
The 2-2 Niners are coming off of 10 days rest after a great performance against the Rams. The momentum is definitely in their favor.
Deep own, I believe the 49ers are a better team than the Texans. And that will matter.
Matt Schaub. A friend of mine argued that Schaub's pick-six INT in the Seattle game may be one of the worst INTs ever thrown in an NFL game. I'd have to do research which I don't have time to do (see: 9 week old puppy), but it's got to be up there. I'm not sure people needed to burn his jersey in the parking lot afterwards, but it was bad. And he's going to feel like he has a LOT to prove this week. I think (hope) he chokes.
Gore had a great running game against the Rams. Let’s hope Greg Roman remembers that when he’s calling offensive plays. Give Gore the ball. He’ll get it done.
Did I already say that I think we're the better team?
Home field advantage. If I don’t all asleep from exhaustion, I plan to wear red and make noise. Lots of it. And so will everyone else. Prime time. Everyone gets fired up for a night game. I expect The ‘Stick to be rocking. Just no violence, please.
It’s not known if Patrick Willis will be able to play on Sunday (groin injury). I put this in "The Bad" because Willis is, well... he's Patrick Willis. That's why. He's always a welcome presence on the field. But thanks to NaVorro Bowman, the defense actually did a great job even without him against the Rams.
LB Brian Cushing has been cleared to play. He suffered a concussion in the Seattle game and his exit cleared the way for their comeback. I don't root for an injury ever; however, I wouldn't be bummed if he had to sit Sunday's game out.
Kaepernick just doesn't have a ton of guys to throw to Boldin, VD Crabtree’s injury becomes more of a bummer every week he’s not in the game. According to Greg Roman, we’re going to see a lot more of Jon Baldwin on Sunday. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be determined.
Aldon Smith is STILL in rehab. They don’t have any fast-track programs out there for a guy who needs to get back to his job? (Kidding. I take rehab very seriously.)
J.J. Watt. Houston’s defensive end is tough and fired up. Whereas I think Schaub will suffer because he has something to prove; I think Watt will shine. The Niners need to watch him all game long. The good news? Kap actually does well when under pressure.
The Rest of It
I’m not a fan of anything that results in a media circus, so you can probably guess my feelings on Donte Whitner changing his name to Donte Hitner. All I can say is if he’s really going to go through with it, he’d better never ever miss another tackle for as long as he’s in the NFL. Like, ever.
The 49ers released QB B.J. Daniels and SHOCKING! The Seahawks claimed him off waivers. Definitely sad to see him go; he looked pretty good in the pre-season. My favorite reaction to the Seahawks picking him up came from Mike Sando, @SandoESPN: 49ers' Donte Whitner dropped the W from his last name. Expecting Seahawks to claim it off waivers.
The 49ers picked up former Cardinals QB John Skelton. I guess that’s a good thing in case Kap gets hurt (you know the drill - go knock on wood. Now. I mean it.).
In short: We have all of the tools to win this game. And I fully expect us to do so.
Watch SAN FRANCISCO vs. Houston on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on NBC.