The San Francisco 49ers (5-1) are off to a hot start in 2011, and things are only looking up as they are coming off their bye week. Not only did all of their NFC West bedfellows lose their respective games in week 7, but San Francisco is getting healthier. After only seeing limited action early in the season, wide receiver Braylon Edwards is returning to full participation today.
After Edwards went down in the 49ers only loss of the season against Dallas, San Francisco has been on a 4-game win streak against competitive teams. In week 8, San Francisco will face the Cleveland Browns who have been struggling to do anything right. While they did manage to squeeze out a 6-3 win over the Seahawks, Cleveland may find themselves getting roughed up by a rested 49er squad.
Cleveland is without their breakout star from 2010, Peyton Hillis, who will be replaced by running back Montario Hardesty. It's worth noting that that the 49ers are still the only team in the league that is yet to allow a rushing touchdown, while also maintaining a 28-game streak for having not allowed a 100-yard rusher. In addition to their problems running the ball, Cleveland will sure have some issues stopping the run.
The return of Braylon Edwards is going to make it difficult for teams to put 8 or 9 men in the box against Frank Gore. Gore, who turned a slow start into a Pro Bowl pace, needs
less than a hundred yards 110 yards to become the 49ers all-time leading #2 career rusher -- a record he's got a good chance to take at home against Cleveland. The Browns are currently sitting at 3-3 under new head coach Pat Shurmur but from a broad view, they don't have the tools necessary to take down the Niners.
The Niners motto has revolved around staying humble, and after 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh no doubt watched his brother John lose to a lesser opponent in Jacksonville on Monday Night Football, San Francisco will be sure to avoid any surprises.
The 49ers' Harbaugh will have had two weeks to look at Cleveland, and has already shown himself to be a great gameplanner. If all is normal in the NFL that day, San Francisco should find themselves in total control of the NFC West at 6-1, looking to improve at Washington in week 9.
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