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Buccaneers vs. 49ers 2016 picks and predictions: Experts split but leaning toward San Francisco

Can Colin Kaepernick succeed without his top running back in his second start?

Both the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terrible run defenses, and both teams will be without their starting running backs when they face off on Sunday in Week 7.

It will either be a comedy of errors or an exciting ground battle between promising backups looking for a larger role. Given that the 49ers are involved, the former is far more likely.

Carlos Hyde has an ankle injury for the 49ers while Doug Martin is dealing with a hamstring injury for the Buccaneers. Though the 49ers gave up more yardage to LeSean McCoy than the Buccaneers did to Carolina's running backs last week, the Buccaneers still may get the worse of it.

That's because starting defensive linemen Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald are expected to miss the game with continuing injuries. Gerald McCoy returned to practice and they may have him available. But the 49ers do have one weapon in the running game: quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Provided he has the confidence to run, Kaepernick could put up huge numbers against a porous Tampa Bay run defense. Never mind that Hyde is out and Shaun Draughn will be starting for the 49ers, Kaepernick is as dangerous as it gets on the ground. He'll be making his second start since Blaine Gabbert's benching and eager to prove the 49ers he's their man once again.

As far as experts are concerned, they have been somewhat divided. Over at CBS Sports, five of the eight experts are picking Chip Kelly's 49ers, leaving three siding with the Buccaneers. It's a similar spread at ESPN, where five of their nine experts have the 49ers winning, leaving four picking Tampa Bay.

Here at SB Nation, six of the nine experts, plus the OddsShark computer, think the 49ers will win it.

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Tyler Tynes Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark computer

That leaves just three picking the Buccaneers. Sunday's game will be among the later slate, with kickoff set for 4:05 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on FOX, with a live stream online via FOX Sports GO.