The Week 8 match-up of the 49ers (5-1) and Browns (3-3) has "comebacks" as a part of its storyline. Braylon Edwards is still questionable no matter how optimistic Jim Harbaugh is, and Peyton Hillis' possible return to the Cleveland backfield. Montario Hardesty has run rather well in Hillis' absence, but it will be good to have the Madden '12 cover boy on the field again.
However, the backfield is one part of the game this weekend that the 49ers will not have to worry about, particularly because the 49ers' rushing defense ranks among the best in football, Hardesty is a rather shallow runner and Hillis is coming back from injury. It stacks up for San Francisco to have another ho-hum day in the trenches.
What the 49ers do have to worry about is the feeling of a trap game.
San Francisco is 5-1 and in charge of the NFC West, as well as an elite team in the NFC. A team like the Browns have no shot at the win at Candlestick, right?
Unless you let them have that shot, which is what many are afraid of in Week 8.
The Browns' offense is mediocre and their defense one of the best in the AFC.
Pounding the ball, as Harbaugh would prefer, is the name of the game this weekend for the 49ers, but look for a low-scoring game where Gore and the defense stand out.
The Browns will be looking to run their way to a "W" this week, as such is there offensive strategy nearly every week.
Hardesty should get the bulk of the carries this week, but look for Hillis to get double-digit carries as well if he gets on the field.
With that said, the 49ers' rushing defense must continue good play, as rushing their way to a win may be the only way for the Browns to claim a victory at Candlestick on Sunday.
In all games played at Candlestick for the 49ers this season, each opposing running back has left the game with injury at some point in the game with less than mediocre numbers to show.
Both Hillis and Hardesty will need to watch their step on Sunday.
Pretty simple here. The Browns will not win running the ball on Sunday, so Colt McCoy will have to have a career day for Cleveland to win. As long as the 49ers' secondary does not collapse, that will not happen.
Also, the San Francisco offensive line will need to continue to improve and create lanes for Gore to run for big gains. And i expect many of those this week.
Do not underestimate the Browns' defense, though. If the 49ers get into the passing game, the Cleveland secondary is one of the best in the AFC, which makes for another way the Browns can pull one out in San Francisco.
49ers win 24-13