49ERS GAME AT A GLANCE
Opponent: at New England Patriots
Time: 5:20 p.m. Line: Patriots by 4 1/2
Records: 49ers 9-3-1, New England 10-3
TV/Radio: Ch. 3 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth), 680, 1320
MATCHUP TO WATCH
49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers vs. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker
Victor Cruz, Danny Amendola and Chris Givens have had big days against the 49ers, and Welker is more prolific than any of them. He has 95 catches for 1,116 yards, and he has been targeted 142 times this season. Only three receivers have seen more passes go their way. Rogers is savvy, but he doesn't have the quickness to keep pace with Welker. He'll need help from others in the secondary as well as the 49ers' pass rushers, who must make sure quarterback Tom Brady, in Rogers' words, is "not just sitting back there baking a cake and picking us apart."
THREE KEYS TO GAME
Long, methodical drives are a must for Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense. Not only would they wear down Vince Wilfork and the Patriots' defense, they would keep Brady and Welker off the field.
Look for the 49ers to lean heavily on their nickel defense, designed to thwart the passing game. More notably, the 49ers' nickel is perhaps better against the run than any New England has faced this season.
The 49ers did a poor job of getting to the line of scrimmage quickly last week, forcing them to take timeouts. It's even more imperative today: The Patriots are ever-shuffling their defense, and Kaepernick needs time to survey it before the snap.
Doubtful: WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)
Probable: K David Akers (pelvis), LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder), CB Tarell Brown (shoulder), CB Chris Culliver (knee), LB Tavares Gooden (ribs), RB Frank Gore (wrist), RB Bruce Miller (shoulder), CB Carlos Rogers (knee), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), DT Will Tukuafu (wrist), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)
Questionable: CB Kyle Arrington (knee), DT Ron Brace (elbow), S Patrick Chung (shoulder, hamstring), G Dan Connolly (back), CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm, hip), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Dont'a Hightower (hamstring), DE Chandler Jones (ankle), WR Brandon Lloyd (knee), DT Kyle Love (not injury related), G Logan Mankins (ankle, calf), G Nick McDonald (shoulder), T Nate Solder (abdomen), LB Brandon Spikes (knee, ankle), CB Aqib Talib (hip), T Sebastian Vollmer (back, knee), WR Wes Welker (ankle), LB Tracy White (elbow)
Probable: LB Jerod Mayo (elbow)
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 9 at Green Bay W, 30-22
Sept. 16 Detroit W, 27-19
Sept. 23 at Minnesota L, 24-13
Sept. 30 at N.Y. Jets W, 34-0
Oct. 7 Buffalo W, 45-3
Oct. 14 N.Y. Giants L, 26-3
Oct. 18 Seattle W, 13-6
Oct. 29 at Arizona W, 24-3
Nov. 11 St. Louis (OT) T, 24-24
Nov. 19 Chicago W, 32-7
Nov. 26 New Orleans W, 31-21
Dec. 2 St. Louis (OT) L, 16-13
Dec. 9 Miami W, 27-13
Date Opponent Time
Today at New England 5:20 p.m.
Dec. 23 at Seattle 5:20 p.m.
Dec. 30 Arizona 1:25 p.m.