(By Daisy Barringer)
First, can we talk about how naïve I am? I truly believed last night that Arizona could beat Seattle. Alas, I am a fool and now Seattle is 6-1 for the first time EVER in the history of their franchise. Boo. That means the Niners are still chasing the Seahawks for first place in the NFC West and must win on Sunday in order to stay only one game behind. The only good thing about this is that I believe the Niners do better when they’re playing the role of the underdog.
Plus, according to my season predictions, we’re going to win this week and the next two. The bummer is that Seattle plays St. Louis next week and they’re going to win that one as well. Fingers crossed they lose to the Bucs in Week 9, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
So. 49ers at the 3-3 Titans. A winnable game.
Defense. The Niners D has allowed just over 11 points per game in their last three wins.
Frank Gore and the Running Game. The Titans are ranked 21st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and have allowed over 100 yards rushing in four games. Getting a run game going is key, especially since we can’t depend on the passing game (see below). It’s all about taking time off of the clock, gaining yards, and tiring out the Titans defense by making them deal with the 49ers offensive line. Just give the ball to Frank. And sometimes Kendall Hunter. Please. (Poor LaMichael James. No love.)
Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Titans have lost both their games since QB Jake Locker was sidelined with a sprained knee and hip. Ryan Fitzpatrick is average at best. Word on the street is that Locker might play on Sunday, but my gut tells me that’s just the Titans trying to make it harder for the Niners to prepare. Dude is still walking with a limp for heaven’s sake. I expect to see Fitzpatrick in all of his backup QB mediocrity on the field on Sunday.
Niners are the Better Team. There’s not much more to say than that. We’re better in pretty much every category. As long as we don’t screw up, we should win this one.
Patrick Willis. I mean, it’s Patrick Willis, so it’s not that bad, but Willis is still in pain with his groin injury. However, he’s going to play through the pain and Willis at 90% is still better than most guys at 100.
A little story that has nothing to do with anything. In 7th grade I was “going steady” with this boy—which basically meant we talked on the phone once in a while since I went to an all-girls school. One night during the week we went out, we were on the phone when suddenly he told me he had to go. He sounded like he was in pain, so I asked what happened. “I pulled my groin muscle!” he told me. I was 12. You can imagine my reaction. That is all.
Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey’s status is unknown because of his hamstring injury, which means Tony Jerod-Eddie may make his first start and Quinton Dial, a rookie who went through his first full practice two days ago, may get time on the field. That’s comforting, I know.
Receiving Corps. Kaepernick needs to have options down the field and since he can be a little gun shy, he needs to feel secure in those options. It’s great that he can throw to the tight ends, but the wide receivers need to crack open. They need to do their job. And not just Anquan Boldin. However, he must also be careful because the Titans have intercepted the ball six times this year and have recovered seven fumbles. So NONE OF THAT, please.
The Titans & Forced Fumbles. I mean, yes, they’re good at it; but Gore is good at holding onto the ball (he did lose one fumble earlier this year), so I’ll leave it at that and go knock on wood.
The Rest of It
Kaepernick Not Drafted by the Titans. Is this even a real story or does the media just search for things to write about? I mean, everyone except ONE person each year is not drafted by a team. But apparently Kap hasn’t forgotten that Jake Locker went ahead of him. Anyway, whatever, who cares. You could be on the Titans, Kap, or you could have already gone to (and lost) the Super Bowl.
Delanie Walker. This isn’t really a story, but something to watch for. The former 49ers tight end is going to want to make his mark on this game, for sure. I kind of love him, but I hope he sucks just this once.
Dan Garza Passed Away. That wasn’t a name I was familiar with before this week, but Garza was the 49ers Medical Director. He was only 43 and his death was totally unexpected. Really sad. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.
So there you have it We’ve got this. We just have to play hard and not make mistakes. And win.
Watch San Francisco at TENNESSEE on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PDT on FOX.