▪ Opponent: at New Orleans
▪ Time: 10 a.m.
▪ Line: Saints by 4
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▪ Records: 49ers 4-4, Saints 4-4
▪ TV/radio: FOX40 (Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch), 680, 1320
FIVE 49ERS TO WATCH
C MARCUS MARTIN
New Orleans is a difficult place for a rookie center to make his second NFL start. Martin will have to battle the cacophony of the Louisiana Superdome along with a talented Saints defensive line that includes nine-year veteran nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley.
RB FRANK GORE
The 49ers ended an early-season, two-game losing streak by giving the ball to Gore. He responded with a 119-yard game against the Eagles and 107 yards against the Chiefs, both 49ers wins. Is the key to ending the current two-game losing streak as simple as feeding Gore the ball? The 49ers should find out.
LB CHRIS BORLAND
The 5-foot-11 rookie linebacker will make his third start in a row, and this time his assignments will range from covering 6-7 tight end Jimmy Graham to stuffing running back Mark Ingram. The Saints’ offense isn’t pass-only anymore. They are seventh in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 129.5.
S ANTOINE BETHEA
He had the best game of all the 49ers against the Rams last week. This time, however, Bethea will have to match wits with Drew Brees, the NFC’s leading passer. Brees has new weapons this year, including first-round pick Brandin Cooks, and he’s completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.
PR BRUCE ELLINGTON
The rookie hasn’t made a critical mistake in the return game. But he hasn’t added much pop either. As Ellington becomes more accustomed to returns, something he did seldom in college, look for his speed and athleticism to start having an impact.
▪ Questionable: CB Tramaine Brock (toe), DT Quinton Dial (eye), WR Brandon Lloyd (hamstring), LB Dan Skuta (ankle), LB Patrick Willis (toe)
▪ Probable: RB Frank Gore (hip), DE Justin Smith (not injury related), DT Ian Williams (shin)
▪ Out: LB David Hawthorne (hand), RB Khiry Robinson (forearm), RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder)
▪ Questionable: C Jonathan Goodwin (knee, ankle), RB Mark Ingram (shoulder), WR Robert Meachem (ankle), T Zach Strief (chest)
▪ Probable: TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder), WR Kenny Stills (thigh)
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