Quarterback Troy Smith's play against the division rival (and division-leading) Rams was good enough to earn him another start, albeit on a week-to-week basis. Whether or not that will affect his confidence and ability to play (the lack of complete faith from the coach) remains to be seen, but if this past Sunday was any indication, the Buccaneers need to do some good things to come out with a win over the 49ers.
Then again, the 49ers themselves have to do some good things, seeing as how they're attempting to overcome a team that is 6-3, with a dominating win in their last outing, beating a team the 49ers failed to beat just a few short weeks ago. Before the season began, it would have been easy to pencil in a win here for the Niners.
Not so much anymore.
The entire Bucs team is playing very well, and, despite some delusions from their head coach, Raheem Morris, the team itself is well-coached for the most part. They come into games with good gameplans and execute the gameplan with some very young playmakers. Their offense is young, as mentioned, with a lot of promising talent that has made its presence known this year. They've a struggling defense and a lacking special teams unit, but that offense will be the 49ers chief concern.
On offense for San Francisco, the gameplan should revolve around Frank Gore against that run defense, while on defense they'll need to contain young running backs, a young quarterback and young receiving targets. There's a couple ties to the 49ers on the roster, one Micheal Spurlock and a certain Mr. Blount, and the Niners will have to deal with both of them; the former on special teams returning kicks and the second in the backfield.
It's an important game for both teams. The 49ers are in "must-win," mode while the Buccaneers don't want to be middle of the pack. If they can get past the Niners, they are some true contenders, and possibly the same goes for San Francisco. Follow along throughout the week for news and matchup analysis.