The San Francisco 49ers were expected to be one of the most dominant teams in the NFL this season. Coming off three consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances, the 49ers appeared ready to continue their string of excellence.
However, things have not gone according to plan because of a varying degree of obstacles, both on the field and off. Despite this, San Francisco is 6-4, has won two straight and now host a poor Washington team.
The 49ers are finally getting some of their key players back. Aldon Smith returned last week from his nine-game suspension, while inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey are back practicing after recovering from a torn ACL and a torn bicep, respectively. With help on the way, San Francisco needs to hold the fort in the NFC playoff picture. Currently on the outside looking in, a 49ers win Sunday could put them back on the right side of the cut line.
In Washington, there have been all sorts of problems following the 27-7 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Jay Gruden called out Robert Griffin III Monday, following Griffin's assertion that not only he, but the team, needs to play better. It's been a circus for the 3-7 team and one that will only pick up steam with another defeat. Griffin was atrocious in the loss to Tampa Bay, being intercepted twice on 22-of-32 passing.
The 49ers will likely try to run the ball against Washington. San Francisco ranks 7th in rushing with 124.7 yards per game, led by the constant pounding of Frank Gore. Gore has 648 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per rush. Gore will face a stout run defense, checking in 11th with 104.2 yards permitted. Washington also has a reasonable pass rush with Ryan Kerrigan's 7.5 sacks leading the team.
How to Watch
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
When: 4:25 p.m. ET
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
For more on Washington, head over to Hogs Haven.
To keep up on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.