The San Francisco 49ers are riding high right now. They've got the second best record in the NFL and are firmly atop the NFC West with a 6-1 record. Their defense has been making opposing offenses look bad and Frank Gore is on fire, moving into second all-time for the franchise in rushing yardage. ESPN, SB Nation, CBS Sports - they're all ranking the 49ers in the top three of their Week 9 NFL power rankings.
But no team can be overlooked, lest Fred P. Soft make his presence known and hand San Francisco a loss they didn't expect. That includes the Washington Redskins, fresh off 23-0 loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills and looking more dysfunctional by the week. The loss to Buffalo was particularly bad, as quarterback John Beck threw for 208 yards, but no touchdowns and two interceptions. Washington started off on the right foot this season, but a quarterback controversy has sunk them before they could get going.
On top of that, there was only 26 yards rushing altogether for Washington on 12 attempts, only eight of which were from an actual running back. Washington also gave up nine sacks to the Bills on Sunday, and part of that (not to mention the paltry yardage totals in the running game) can be attributed to the lack of Trent Williams, the team's starting left tackle, in the lineup.
If you believe Head Coach Mike Shanahan, it's also partly Beck's fault that nine sacks were surrendered, but either way, Williams has missed the last two games with an injury but the thought is that he'll be back in action when San Francisco comes to town.
Either way, the 49ers defense will be rabid. Justin Smith is always rabid, of course, but emerging defensive rookie of the year candidate, Aldon Smith, will be even more rabid than usual. I couldn't tell you if he specifically thinks about beating Von Miller in the sack department, but fans constantly have their eye on the stats, on both sides. It's not likely that Aldon will, you know, get nine sacks on Sunday, but he's prepped for a big game. Williams hasn't been playing at an exceedingly high level this season, but he'll provide stability and be a tougher matchup for Smith, who just went rounds with Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
For the 49ers, they'll be looking to get Braylon Edwards some more catches after returning from injury against the Browns on Sunday. He got plenty of playing time, but wasn't targeted often, and has now been raised back to the top of the depth chart alongside Michael Crabtree. Frank Gore, fresh off moving into second-place past Roger Craig on the 49ers all-time rushing leaders list, now has his eyes set on Joe Perry at number one.
Washington also recently claimed running back Tashard Choice off of waivers following the player's release from the Dallas Cowboys. It's unclear how healthy he is or if he'll be ready to play against the 49ers.