The San Francisco 49ers have a bye this weekend, which means pretty much zero stress football-watching on Sunday. This particular Sunday features a unique schedule set-up. We have the normal 10 a.m. 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. games, but there will also be a 6:30 a.m. PT game. The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons square off in London, and the NFL has turned this into an earlier game. It provides an earlier game for Europeans, and opens the door for another nationally televised game. FOX will be broadcasting the game across the country. Breakfast and football!
For 49ers fans looking for things to watch on Sunday, the 10 a.m. schedule features an old friend with a potentially big role. Former 49ers running back Anthony Dixon signed with the Buffalo Bills this offseason, and due to injuries, he could be the starting running back this weekend. This past weekend, C.J. Spiller suffered a broken collarbone, and Fred Jackson injured his groin. Both will be out for Sunday's game, leaving the Bills with Dixon and Bryce Brown as their primary running backs. Dixon is handling first team carries in practice so far this week.
Dixon left San Francisco in part because he was not able to climb up the running back depth chart. The 49ers used a sixth round pick on Dixon back in 2010. He was primarily a special teams player, although he did work his way into some short-yardage and fullback work. However, with Frank Gore locked in as the starter, and the team perpetually adding new running backs in the draft, his future with the 49ers was limited.
The Bills are currently 4-3, sitting a game back of the New England Patriots in the AFC East, and tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers just back of the 3-2-1 Cincinnati Bengals for the second wild card spot. Kyle Orton is a serviceable quarterback option for them, but they need to establish the run to find success. They invested a lot in Jackson and Spiller, but now they're hoping Boobie and Bryce can keep them on the tracks until Fred Jackson gets healthy.
Normally I would pay pretty much zero attention to a regular season Bills-Jets football game. But this weekend, I will be paying particularly close attention to it.