When Tampa is throwing: Eventually, I expect this passing game to get going but I see a real lack of discipline in the offensive line, a real lack of aggression in the play-calling, and a real lack of experienced wideout to be able to adjust and help Freeman out in key situations. This 49ers team has been winning with their defense yet I want to think that – like Dallas did – Freeman will be able to use the tight end on them and – especially – hit on the big plays with Mike Williams. Come on, Mike. Don’t let me down. Edge: Tampa, slightly.
When Tampa is running: I think Earnest Graham needs more carries this week. The 49ers linebackers are athletic and Graham is a built more compact. He’s had 6, 3, 2 and 2 carries. Edge: Tampa, slightly.
When San Francisco is throwing: We know Philadelphia is still adjusting to their new players and new system, but Alex Smith is starting to get in a rhythm and he was finding the open guy and delivering the ball with confidence and accuracy last week. This is the most mobile quarterback the Bucs have faced this season. Edge: San Francisco, slightly.
When San Francisco is running: Frank Gore hasn’t had good blocking a long time. The Bucs understand the importance of this game and will rise to the occasion. Edge: Tampa, slightly.
Prediction: Should be a lot closer than 21-0 like last November, because Jim Harbaugh’s offense fits Alex Smith better. That said, this is the best team the 49ers have faced – Dallas was injured – and I expect they shall get their second home loss this year. Buccaneers 21, 49ers 14.