49ers Week 7 Preview: At Tennessee Titans

The 49ers travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in a game that pits two 2nd place teams looking to gain ground in their respective division. We'll take a look at the recent performance of both teams, what it will take for each team to win this one, and spotlight 3 Titans players to get familiar with before Sunday's game.



San Francisco 49ers (4-2, 2nd place NFC West)

Tennessee Titans (3-3, 2nd place AFC South)


Most Recent Game:

49ers: The 49ers are coming off a thrilling 32-20 victory over the division rival Arizona Cardinals, led by 4 defensive takeaways and an 8 catch, 180 yard, 2 touchdown performance by Vernon Davis.

Titans: Tennessee lost 20-13 in a defensive battle in the Northwest against the Seattle Seahawks, mustering just 223 total yards and scoring their only touchdown on a Seattle botched field goal attempt.


3 Players To Watch for the Titans:

1) Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB #4: With Jake Locker all but certain to miss his third straight game with a hip/knee injury suffered in week 4, Fitzpatrick will make yet another start against a dominant defensive unit. In two starts against Kansas City and Seattle, Fitzpatrick has posted an uninspiring 418 passing yards, 2 touchdowns (one rushing) and 4 interceptions with a Quarterback Rating of 52.2. Fitzpatrick has been prone to turnovers all through his career, and with the 49ers fresh off a 4 takeaway game, the defense is licking their chops over this matchup. Fitzpatrick can put up solid numbers in the air, but if he can't avoid the turnovers, the 49ers should walk all over the Titans offense in this game.




2) Chris Johnson, RB #28: CJ2K/CJ1K/CJ0K...whatever nickname he goes by these days, has been about as inconsistent as any back in all of football over the last few years, and that has not changed through 6 weeks in 2013. He's averaging just 3.1 YPC and no touchdowns so far this season, but the 49ers' run defense has been less dominant this year (20th against the run). How well the 49ers can stop Johnson and the run game may be the wild card of this matchup. Shutting down the run will force the Titans to throw and like we just covered above, that should spell good news for San Francisco, but if Johnson gets in a groove early, he still has enough left in the tank to gash the Niners' front seven and give Tennessee a chance to move the ball. Johnson did rush for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns in his last appearance versus San Francisco back in 2009, a game that the Titans won 34-27.







3) Alterraun Verner, DB #20: The 4th year corner out of UCLA is having a breakout year, tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with 4 (already a career high). Tennessee's best shot at defeating the Niners will be getting in a low-scoring defensive battle (they held their own against a strong Seahawks team that way last week) and Verner may just be the man to make a game-changing play that swings the game in favor of the Titans. He will be matched up against Anquan Boldin, which may take away the Niners top wide receiver option, and with added emphasis on covering Davis, Colin Kaepernick will need to find other targets or try to force the ball to his top two options.






49ers win if: They take care of business as expected. They got off to a rocky start against Arizona, but pulled away in the 2nd half when they settled in and played like the more talented team they are. The same holds true in this game; don't turn the ball over, don't make dumb penalties, the rest should take care of itself.


Titans win if: They can get Johnson going and Fitzpatrick avoids turnovers. Even if both of those things happen, they'll likely need a big special teams play or great defensive effort to turn the game in their favor. As mentioned earlier, they have a much better chance to keep the pace in a low-scoring affair than a shootout.


One final note: Delanie Walker faces the 49ers for the first time after signing with the Titans in the off-season. Walker has been playing as the starting tight end for Tennessee, posting 20 receptions for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns.


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