The third preseason game is traditionally the final time coaches will play their starters, something we should expect to see from both the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans when they play on Saturday at Candlestick Park. There are still some interesting competitions going on, most notably at starting quarterback for the 49ers.
Alex Smith is still the odds-on favorite to win the job, but there's a growing sense that Colin Kaepernick could see some playing time this season. Smith probably needs a decent performance in this game just to insure that he will be the starter on Sept. 11 when the 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks. Also worth watching is the wide receiver battle where Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards are the presumed starters, but there's still an opening for the likes of Josh Morgan and Ted Ginn Jr. to make bids for starting sports.
For the Texans, the main battle on the offensive side of the ball is at fullback where converted tight end James Casey and Lawrence Vickers are competing to see who replaces Pro Bowler Vonta Leach. On defense, presumed starting inside linebacker Brian Cushing is still recovering from offseason knee surgery, so his performance is worth watching.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, August 27; 8:00pm ET (5:00pm local)
49ers: CBS 5
Texans: Various affiliates
Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
49ers: 680 AM/107.7 FM
Texans: 610 AM/100.3 FM
TV Distribution Map: The506.com