The San Francisco 49ers will travel to Tennessee to play against the Titans in a week seven clash of physical, defensive teams. The 49ers will be looking to extend their three game winning streak while the Titans are coming off of a loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Both of these teams have a top ten passing defense. The 49ers are ranked sixth, giving up 206.3 passing yards per game. The Titans are tenth with 223.8 yards per game. Alterraun Verner leads the team in interceptions with four. He took one of them back for a 34 yard touchdown.
They are also able of get to the quarterback. As a team, the Titans have 18 sacks. They have used a pass rush by committee. Ropati Pitoitua leads the team with four sacks. Derek Morgan was a first round pick a couple of years ago has two sacks. He gives them a pretty good edge rusher and will be a challenge for Anthony Davis.
The 49ers will look to continue running the football against the Titans who are giving up 111.2 yards rushing per game. They are a physical team so the 49ers will need to have their big offensive line ready for a fight. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter will get the bulk of the carries. Gore is the leading rusher once again as he has 62 carries for 335 yards in the past three games. He started the season with 41 rushes for 142 yards against the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.
The 49ers have climbed back to the top part of the NFL in rushing average. They are gaining 141.7 yards per game which is fourth in the NFL. Hunter has chipped in with his 4.0 yards per carry average. Anthony Dixon has also scored on a couple of rushing touchdowns. Whether or not Lamichael James is activated will be a game time decision.
Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis will need to continue to connect in the passing game. Davis has scored a touchdown in five out of the six games this season. Look for him to score against the Titans. They don’t have anyone that can match up with his size and speed. He is one of the two receiving options that Kaepernick seems to have full trust in. The 49ers will look to get Davis set up by play action. He has scored three of his six touchdowns on play action passes.
Offensively, the Titans have some guys that can be a vertical threat in Nate Washington and the rookie Justin Hunter. Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker will work underneath as an option in the middle of the field. The real question will be who will be the guy that gets them the football. Ryan Fitzpatrick has filled in for Jake Locker over the last couple of games. Locker has been cleared for contact and had full participation in practice so it is unclear whether or not he will be the starter.
Chris Johnson is struggling this year. He is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry and is yet to have a rushing touchdown. His longest run this year was 23 yards. This is a far cry from the long distance house calls that he routinely made to the end zone in previous seasons. The Titans rushing game has really struggled. That was supposedly going to be their trademark this year under head coach Mike Munchak. That is what they envisioned when they signed free agent guard Andy Levitre from the Buffalo Bills.
Delanie Walker vs Patrick Willis Walker made a living beating one on one coverage but he hasn’t gone against a linebacker like Willis who is strong enough to handle him at the line of scrimmage and fast enough to run with him throughout the route. Willis has admitted to being assigned to cover Walker this week.
Anthony Davis vs Derek Morgan Morgan lead the Titans in sacks last year with 6.5. He is their best edge rusher. Davis will need to do a good job of blocking him to keep the pocket clean for Colin Kaepernick.
Bernard Pollard vs 49ers rushing attack Pollard is a player that will lay a big hit on running backs. He is very disruptive when coming up and filling the rushing lanes giving the Titans another defender in the box. Look for him to play close to the line of scrimmage to limit the run.
Chris Johnson vs Navorro Bowman Johnson has struggled to gain yards this season. He is yet to gain 100 yards rushing in a single game this season. Bowman is playing like a man that is possessed. After watching that ESPN E60 special on him, I can see why. He is all over the field. It is almost like he has made it his personal mission to makeup for the other star players who were missing from the lineup. He will be the key to keeping Johnson from turning those three or four yard runs into 20+ yard gains.
Justin Smith vs Michael Roos Roos is one of the better left tackles in the NFL. He will have his hands full with Justin Smith. Smith does an excellent job of standing his ground against the run and he has gotten some pressure on the quarterback as well. If Jake Locker plays, it will be crucial for Roos to protect his blind side. Locker is said to have a brace on that will limit mobility so he will not have the same ability to run.
Patrick Willis will be returning to his home state of Tennessee for the first time as a professional. He went to Bruceton Central High School in Bruceton, Tennessee.
After a slow start, Frank Gore is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards with 477 yards. The 49ers recent success can be directly linked to their ability to get Gore back on track.
The Titans came close to setting an NFL record of five straight games without a turnover but fell short against the Kansas City Chiefs when Marcus Cooper a former 49er, recovered a fumble and took it back for a touchdown.
Vernon Davis had a career high ten receptions against the Titans in 2009.
Jake Locker took the majority of the first team reps at practice on Friday.
Ahmad Brooks was excused from practice as he had to handle a personal matter. He will make the trip to Tennessee with the team and will play.
The Titans hosted Colin Kaepernick on a pre-draft visit. Kaepernick thought that they had interest in him but as we know, the Titans selected Jake Locker with the tenth pick.
This game will be a good one. Both defenses are solid and these teams are very evenly matched. There will be a lot of physical play on both sides. The quarterback decision will be a game time decision for the Titans.
Here is your injury report:
LB Moise Fokou (DNP) Knee
LB Zaviar Gooden (DNP) Hamstring
LB Patrick Bailey (LP) Hamstring
DE Lavar Edwards (FP) Shoulder
RB Shonn Green (LP) Knee
QB Jake Locker (FP) Hip/Knee
DE Derrick Morgan (LP) Shoulder
G/C Rob Turner (LP) Shoulder
RB Jackie Battle (FP) Neck
DT Sammie Hill (FP) Ankle
S Bernard Pollard (FP) Ankle
T David Stewart (FP) Ankle
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (FP) Hamstring
WR Quinton Patton (DNP) Foot
C Jonathan Baldwin (DNP) Illness
DT Glenn Dorsey (LP) Hamstring
DT Ray McDonald (LP) Biceps
CB Carlos Rogers (LP) Knee
DT Justin Smith (LP) Shoulder
G Alex Boone (FP) Shoulder
LB Ahmad Brooks (DNP) Not Injury Related
OT Anthony Davis (Lp) Shoulder
TE Vernon Davis (FP) Hamstring
OG Mike Iupati (FP) Shoulder
QB Colin Kaepernick (FP) Foot
FS Eric Reid (FP) Hip/Ankle
LB Michael Wilhoite (FP) Quadricep/Ankle
LB Patrick Willis (LP) Groin