Time: 10 a.m.
Line:,/b> Bengals by 2 1/2
Records: 49ers 1-1, Bengals 1-1
TV: FOX40 Ron Pitts (play-by-play), Jim Mora (color)
Radio: ESPN (1320 AM), KNBR (680 AM) Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Eric Davis (color)
Why watch? Because this kicks off Jim Harbaugh's first trip, one he will extend by practicing in Youngstown, Ohio, this week before traveling to Philadelphia for next Sunday's game.
Rewind: In his first-ever start, Shaun Hill completed 21 of 28 passes for 197 yards and threw for a touchdown and ran for another in a 20-13 49ers win over Cincinnati on Dec. 15, 2007, at Candlestick Park.
49ERS' THREE KEYS
The 49ers have applied good pressure on quarterbacks by rushing four defenders. Defensive end Justin Smith is returning to the city where he started his NFL career, and the 49ers need a big day from him.
The 49ers must push the ball downfield. Their 3.9-yards-per-play average ranks next-to-last in the league, and their lack of offensive pop results in defenses crowding the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
If the exhibition season is any guide, the offensive line will bounce back from a poor performance against Dallas with a good one against Cincinnati. It has to.
BENGALS' THREE KEYS
Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has done a good job minimizing mistakes over the first two games, throwing for three touchdowns with no interceptions. The 49ers promise to drop seven men into coverage, making it harder for Dalton to find open receivers.
The Bengals want Cedric Benson and the running game to take some pressure off Dalton. That will be hard against a San Francisco defense that hasn't allowed a rusher more than 100 yards in the last 24 games.
Dalton will look to a fellow rookie, wide receiver A.J. Green, throughout today's game. The long and lanky Green has 11 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis vs. Bengals running back Cedric Benson
Through two games, Willis hasn't tallied the high tackle numbers he had early in his career. That's partly because the Seahawks and Cowboys fell behind early and weren't committed to the running game. The Bengals are committed. Benson has rushed 41 times and is averaging an impressive 4.4 yards per carry. Bottling him up at the line of scrimmage would create riskier third-and-long scenarios for quarterback Andy Dalton.
Out: WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Moran Norris (leg)
Probable: CB Tramaine Brock (hand), WR Michael Crabtree (feet), QB Alex Smith (concussion)
Out: LB Dontay Moch (foot)
Doubtful: DE Robert Geathers (shoulder), G Otis Hudson (knee)
Questionable: WR Jerome Simpson (not injury-related)
Probable: WR A.J. Green (toe), S Taylor Mays (knee), T Andre Smith (ankle)