SANTA CLARA Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday called the 49ers' Randy Moss "the smartest receiver I've ever coached."
The question entering Sunday's game is whether the 49ers can tap that intelligence and Moss' experience in Tom Brady's huddle to help slow New England's offense, which has been accelerating rapidly as the playoffs approach.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers said he and the other defensive backs plan to sit down with Moss this week.
"We'll get some time with him to kind of pick his brain and see what Brady's thinking, his (checkdowns) and the routes they run," Rogers said. " When (Moss) was there, and he was taking reps, that offense was rolling."
The Patriots are showing the same domination during their seven-game winning streak that they did in 2007, when they went undefeated in the regular season and reached the Super Bowl. Moss had one of his best seasons that year, scoring a career-high 23 touchdowns and totaling 1,493 receiving yards, the second most of his career.
Moss had much more broad advice for teammates than what Rogers is seeking when he met with reporters after practice Wednesday.
"Just have your head on a swivel and be ready for anything," Moss said. "Because the way they're playing, just coming off a Monday night game against the so-called best team in the league in the Houston Texans, they put 40-some points up and really embarrassed them. So I don't think we want to be that team that gets embarrassed on national television.
"So like I said, hopefully we come prepared and ready to play a good game."
The Texans, who lost 42-14, are just the latest team to be humbled by New England this year.
The Patriots have scored more than 40 points five times, and their average victory margin during their winning streak is 21 points. They lead the league in total offense, and their 472 points are 97 more than the second-highest-scoring team, the Broncos.
Brady has thrown for 19 touchdowns with just one interception during the streak.
Brady, who attended "The Catch" game at Candlestick Park as a 4 1/2-year-old in 1982, has faced the 49ers only once in his career, in the 2004 season finale, and he didn't even play the whole game.
The 49ers went 2-14 that year and were awarded the No. 1 pick in the draft, which they used on Alex Smith. Brady was injured when the Patriots visited San Francisco four years later, and Matt Cassel started in his place.
Several 49ers, including Rogers and safety Donte Whitner, have faced Brady with other teams. Rogers' game against the Patriots came in 2007, and it was mostly memorable to the then-Redskins cornerback because he tore three ligaments in his knee when he collided with a teammate. The Patriots won 52-7.
Whitner faced Brady twice a year when he was with the Bills and is 0-10 against the Patriots. That includes a 56-10 defeat in 2007. Moss had 10 catches for 128 yards and four touchdowns in that game.
"They have a smart coaching staff over there and smart players," Whitner said. "That's why they've been so successful. We're going to have to match our wits against theirs."
The bad news for the 49ers is that Brady has been doing some homework of his own. Asked if he's done extra research on the 49ers, Brady said he started looking at San Francisco's defense after the Patriots' game against the Jets on Thanksgiving Day.
"So I put a couple of days in there, and actually after our game on Monday night I felt like I just had to watch their most recent game, and I was caught up," Brady told Boston-area media Wednesday. "So you try to take advantage of a little extra time, a little planning. Probably wouldn't have done that 10 years ago."