The San Francisco 49ers face the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football in Week 5, and this game should not disappoint. These are two teams with physical defenses, great running backs and elite wide receivers. Though the 49ers dominated the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football, the Rams are not a formidable team by any measure other than being in the NFL. San Francisco did not prove anything by beating them down handily in an away game.
The Texans will be the true test to see if the team has actually righted the ship since being dominated two weeks in a row by their divisional rival, the Seattle Seahawks, and then the Indianapolis Colts. Houston, especially quarterback Matt Schaub, will be looking to redeem themselves for losing to the Seahawks last Sunday. This is a critical game for both franchises as both have legit chances to not only make the playoffs, but win some postseason games.
For the 49ers, they are already in second place in their division behind the Seahawks and losing to a team Seattle has already beaten, that will have a profound effect on seeding when the playoff picture becomes more clear over time. Plus, the Seahawks are playing the Colts and Niners may want to root for Indianapolis because of the Week 3 beat down they received from the Colts.
To win this game, San Francisco will have to live and die by running back Frank Gore once again and play smash-mouth defense again without linebacker Aldon Smith. Another linebacker who also may not play is All-Pro Patrick Willis, who still nursing a groin injury.