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49ers prepare for 'measuring stick' game against New England

The 49ers have played a number of good teams this season, but face possibly their biggest test of the season this week against New England.

Jim Rogash

San Francisco has been challenged a number of times this season, but the 49ers will face arguably their biggest test of the season on Sunday against New England.

The 10-3 Patriots are coming off a 42-14 win against Houston and have won 20 straight home games in the month of December. Some NFL analysts consider the Patriots to be the best team in football, providing another challenge for San Francisco. Cornerback Tarell Brown called the game a measuring stick for San Francisco.

"Yeah, it's a measuring stick for all of us," Brown said, according to CSN Bay Area. "I think we'll all be tested and challenged throughout the game, and that's the good thing about it."

Brown said the key to stopping the Patriots is slowing down Tom Brady. While that may sound like a simple task, it's easier said than done. Brady is tied for the league lead in passer rating at 104.2 and is coming off a four touchdown performance against Houston. The 49ers will also have to prepare for the Patriots up-tempo offense.

The 49ers are known as one of the more physical teams in the NFL, but defensive end Ray McDonald said the Patriots are also very physical. With the matchup of an elite defense against an elite offense, Brown said it will come down to making simple reads and playing fast.