It really is absurd that the 49ers are still "in the mix," in the NFC West. It's downright hilarious that these other teams are faltering just as much as the 49ers are. The 49ers are at the bottom of the division, below the Rams, Seahawks and even tied with the lowly Cardinals. It feels good to call them "the lowly Cardinals," now. As a team, the Niners have twice as many losses as they do wins on the season.
And yet they fight. They beat the Rams last week - the division leading Rams! Now they play the Buccaneers in what many are calling a GPS Game. A GPS Game is supposed to be nut-up or shut-up, figure out where you stand in the division, the conference, and in the entire NFL. You win a GPS Game to figure out how good you are, you lose one to figure out how bad you are.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a tough test. They feature a very young offense, with two rookie receivers, a second-year quarterback and a rookie running back who are all producing at a very high level. Their defense is stellar, even if it has been lagging of late. Teams can run the ball on them, but they do have trouble passing on them. They're a good test to have, a test the 49ers can pass, providing my insights are correct.
It's Frank Gore who should be able to put up big numbers tomorrow against the Bucs. They've the 31st ranked rushing defense, and Gore is one of the better backs in the league. This GPS Game will tell us whether or not the 49ers can run the ball on a team that they should be able to run the ball on.
It's Troy Smith who can show us that he can deal with a passing defense that specializes in takeaways. It's Troy Smith who can use this GPS Game to show us that he is an NFL quarterback and he can overcome a tough test and get a team that sorely needs a win, a win. The GPS Game will show us where he's at.
The offensive line will use the Tampa Bay pass rush to show where they stand. Delanie Walker will make good on his statements of late and perform like he knows he can. Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer will show they're not getting past their prime, and they can handle Tampa Bay's young receivers.
That's what this game is for, not only is it a potential win to put us one game back of the division lead while the Seahawks play the Saints, it's a game where we can potentially feel as good about this team as we did when the season began.