At this time in the week at Bay Area, we usually like to provide you with a preview a preview of the week's game. In Week 13, the San Francisco 49ers will face the St. Louis Rams for the second time this season. It's a familiar match-up -- the only thing unfamiliar is who is starting behind center.
On Wednesday, Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh named Colin Kaepernick the starting QB over Alex Smith. In "going with the hot hand," the second-year passer out of Nevada-Reno will get the nod against the Rams. So almost immediately, the most intriguing preview of this game features Kaepernick.
But what hasn't he displayed yet? What more can we learn about his game at the pro level?
We witnessed him throw against two good cornerbacks in Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman.
We've seen him outplay over-agressive blitzes.
We've seen him find his receivers equally.
We've even seen him make pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
But this game will bring a new challenge. Wednesday's announcement had a number of significant implications. One of which is that this could mark the beginning of the Kaepernick era in San Francisco. With both QB's healthy and eager to play this week, it was No. 7 that received the go ahead.
But can he live up to the moment? Can he stay in the spotlight? If the 49ers are flat on defense, can he put the team on his back? Can he convincingly defeat a team that he would have to face twice a year?
There is more to a quarterback than the X's and O's or even physicality ability. A lot of the time, it's moments that define players. Kaepernick has a chance to go 3-0 as a starter and extend the 49ers' winning streak. Meanwhile, he has a chance to further establish the team as his own and keep his coach in a positive light.
And while the Rams are not the fiercest opponent, they are still responsible for one of three blemishes on San Francisco's 2012 record. And ironically enough, they are the team responsible for Kaepernick starting.
Kaepernick has a chance to take a big step forward in Sunday's game.