SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 1: Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards #81 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines against the San Diego Chargers during their preseason NFL Game on September 1, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a bye week in which the rest of the NFC West lost and will host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. They're expecting to have players back from injury and, at 5-1, are feeling good on all fronts. For more on the game and the team in general, head on over to Niners Nation, SB Nation's San Francisco 49ers blog.
With the bye week behind them, it's time for the San Francisco 49ers to look ahead to their next matchup: a home game against the Cleveland Browns. San Francisco is coming off a week of inactivity where they got to see the Arizona Cardinals outgunned by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the St. Louis Rams remain winless on the season, and the Seattle Seahawks lose one of the worst games in NFL history to the very same Browns they're getting ready to play.
The 49ers, fresh off their win over the Detroit Lions and a productive bye week standings-wise, will be confident playing at home. They'll be confident for more reasons than their recent success, they'll actually look to Cleveland's latest win for an outlet to gain confidence. The Browns looked bad for a good portion of the game, and, despite controlling the clock for over 40 minutes, they only put up six points. Colt McCoy was able to move the ball a little bit - and backup running back Montario Hardesty had just under 100 yards rushing.
But again - six points. McCoy threw for 178 yards and no touchdowns, and had an interception as well. The rushing gashes were few and far between, and they managed to miss two field goals while they were at it. Defensively, they were strong, but the Seahawks were starting Charlie Whitehurst and it's really debatable about how good they really are. We do have one measurement, though: the Browns defense ranks fourth in the league in yards allowed per game - helped along by the fact that they allowed less than 200 total yards to the Seahawks.
San Francisco is hoping to have Braylon Edwards back to compliment Michael Crabtree, and Delanie Walker should be riding an all-time high after catching the winning touchdown pass in the victory over the Lions. The offense has been clicking lately, and the Browns are probably a bigger test on defense than most thing, but again, it comes down to confidence. Confidence and the layoff of the bye week.
Defensively, the 49ers are looking at a potential Rookie of the Year candidate in linebacker Aldon Smith, who had 5.5 sacks on the season. They've also got an improving secondary, with Carlos Rogers seeming to play better each week and rookie Chris Culliver getting some playing time against the Lions. Culliver spent some time on Calvin Johnson, and may have earned himself the starting nickel role, or at the very least, more playing time.
They've also got the fact that the Browns are in a state of disarray going in their favor. Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur has been irate at practice and can't be happy about the team's performance against Seattle, and Peyton Hillis still has questions with his hamstring. They also lost Mohamed Massaquoi and Benjamin Watson to concussions on Sunday and their status will be up-in-the-air heading into the game in San Francisco.