Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line: 49ers by 3
Records: 49ers 3-1, Buccaneers 3-1
TV: FOX40 Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (color), Tony Siragusa (sideline)
Radio: ESPN (1320 AM), KNBR (680 AM) Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Eric Davis (color)
Why watch? Because the Buccaneers will show whether the 49ers' run-game dominance in Philadelphia last week was real or a mirage. The Eagles' defensive front has been porous; Tampa Bay's is much better.
Rewind: The Bucs had won in only one previous trip to Candlestick Park but battered the Troy Smith-led 49ers 21-0 on Nov. 21 last year. Tailback LeGarrette Blount flattened the 49ers, and the Buccaneers rushed for 162 yards.
49ERS' THREE KEYS
The middle of the 49ers' defense is a question mark now that nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga is out with a staph infection. His replacement, Ricky Jean Francois, must step up against a Bucs offense that will test him.
Second-level blocking was the key last week in springing Frank Gore on big runs. The 49ers' offensive line must get downfield to get the running game going against Tampa Bay.
The 49ers' special teams lapsed a bit last week in Philadelphia. They need to be sharp in what promises to be a close game involving two teams with similar styles.
BUCCANEERS' THREE KEYS
LeGarrette Blount ran for 82 yards in the teams' meeting last year, and the Buccaneers have made no secret about wanting to get him going today. They use play-action off Blount the way the 49ers do off Gore.
Quarterback Josh Freeman has been excellent at minimizing mistakes over his career. But he already has thrown four interceptions this year after only six last season.
The Buccaneers hope their young offensive line can pressure quarterback Alex Smith so Tampa Bay doesn't have to blitz. Smith has been excellent against the blitz this season.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis vs. Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount
Asked last week whether the Buccaneers telegraph their intent when Blount, a running back who had just five receptions last year, is in the game, coach Raheem Morris said he didn't care. Tampa Bay wants to establish its running game and doesn't keep that a secret. One of the team's favorite runs calls for a guard to block the weak-side middle linebacker, which is Willis. How many tackles Willis has, and how close to the line of scrimmage he makes them, will indicate the outcome.
Out: CB Tramaine Brock (hand), WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Moran Norris (leg)
Doubtful: DT Isaac Sopoaga (infection)
Questionable: CB Shawntae Spencer (toe)
Probable: WR Michael Crabtree (foot), RB Frank Gore (ankle), G Mike Iupati (neck), C Adam Snyder (hamstring)
Out: S Devin Holland (back), T James Lee (knee), TE Luke Stocker (knee), WR Sammie Stroughter (foot)
Doubtful: LB Zac Diles (hamstring)
Questionable: LB Quincy Black (ankle)
Probable: DE Michael Bennett (groin), DE Tim Crowder (knee), RB Earnest Graham (hamstring), TE Zack Pianalto (calf), CB Aqib Talib (knee)