49ers deserve to be favored over Bucs

by Gary Shelton on November 18, 2023

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Maybe the running game rises from the dead. Maybe the pass rush shows up. Maybe they can stop giving away a football field worth of penalties.

Yeah, maybe you can see a way that the Tampa Bay Bucs can beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

After that, maybe you can figure out how paper will beat scissors.

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As far as their record, the 49ers have been a bit disappointing this season. No, not to the level of the Bucs. The 49ers still are in the top three in offense and the top five in defense. They have the league’s top rusher in Christian McCaffrey.  They are still among the top half-dozen best bets to reach the Super Bowl.

And the Bucs? They’re still hanging on in a weak division.

Bad things happen to the Bucs when they visit San Francisco. This seeds of the Jon Gruden-Keyshawn Johnson breakup started here. Simeon Rice was suspended here.

This one looks ugly. The 49ers are one of the NFL’s best bets who win with average quarterback play. The Bucs, on the other hand, win primarily because of a pedestrian quarterback.

To win, the Bucs will have to stop McCaffrey. They will have to rush Brock Purdy. They will have to protect Baker Mayfield from a fierce pass rush. They will have to run, at least a bit. They’ll have to get turnovers and avoid penalties.

Sounds like a lot of things have to happen for the Bucs to win.

It could happen, but the odds are against it.

Prediction: San Francisco 30, Tampa Bay 7.

In other NFL games:

Miami 21, Las Vegas 10.

Dallas 31, Carolina 7.

Buffalo 27, N.Y. Jets 13.

Cleveland 30, Pittsburgh 28.

Kansas City 27, Philadelphia 26.

In college games:

UTSA 28, USF 14.

FSU 27, UNA 7.

Missouri 29, Florida 14.

Clemson 28, North Carolina 20.

Louisville 24, Miami 17.

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