The San Francisco 49ers rebounded in a big way after losing to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 by humiliating the New York Jets 34-0 in their own backyard. After mustering 280 total yards against the Vikings, the Niners had their way with the Jets as they rushed for 245 yards on the ground. Not only did backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick make a surprise appearance, but he accounted for 50 of those yards, which included a seven-yard touchdown scramble. The Niners defense also deserves credit. From start to finish they played with energy and did not allow Mark Sanchez and his offense to even enter the red zone. Carlos Rogers' fumble recovery for a score in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter symbolized their dominance and capped off the day in exhilarating fashion.
With their two-game road trip in the books, the Niners finally return home to take on the 2-2 Buffalo Bills. The Bills may be struggling, but they have talented players on their roster. The defensive line features All-Pro caliber players in Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus along with an offense that scores 28.8 points per game.
Williams, the Bills' $96 million man has underperformed so far, recording 1.5 sacks through four games while having difficulty stopping the run. The 6'6'', 292-pound defensive end attributed his early struggles to wrist injuries. If his injury is affecting him, the Niners should run to his side and play toward his weakness. Not only can they generate yards on the ground, but it will also slow down his pass rush. If Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter get into rhythm, Alex Smith can then exploit their suspect secondary with play action and bootlegs. The Bills' front four garnered high expectations entering the season, but have been somewhat disappointing thus far. With the Niners' third-ranked rushing offense going head-to-head against the Bills' porous run defense (28th), San Francisco has the distinct advantage in the trenches.
Running back Fred Jackson may be Buffalo's starter, but C.J. Spiller is a dynamic playmaker that the Niners must account for at all times. When you combine his speed with his ability to run inside and outside, it is not surprising that he owns an 8.3 yards per carry average. Spiller is also deadly in the screen game, so Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks must keep him contained and force him into traffic. Defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga is questionable with a knee and ankle injury, but would provide the defense with a huge lift if he could play. On the other hand, the Bills suffered a greater setback as left tackle Cordy Glenn and right guard Kraig Urbik are officially out due to right ankle injuries.
If their blocking cannot open holes for Jackson or Spiller, the pressure will be placed on Ryan Fitzpatrick to make the big play. In two of Buffalo's losses, Fitzpatrick has thrown seven interceptions. Given his tendency to turn the ball over, former Bill Donte Whitner and the secondary should have opportunities to go for the pick.
The atmosphere will be filled with excitement when the 49ers Faithful welcome their 3-1 squad back home. Since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach, the Niners are 8-1 at Candlestick Park during the regular season. With the defending Super Bowl champions coming into town next week, will the Niners fall victim to a trap, or can they simply fend off Buffalo? Knowing Harbaugh, he'll have his team ready no matter the opposition.
Travis Chan is a longtime fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Giants and Golden State Warriors. He is also a contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Travischan1.
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