TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
Weather: High 78, Low 49
Line: San Francisco (-5)
Heading into the 2013 season, the San Francisco 49ers were expected to win their division and give the Seattle Seahawks problems now that they have a solid starting quarterback in place. However, the 49ers have been somewhat inconsistent this season on offense and have struggled at times behind the leadership of Colin Kaepernick even though they have a 9-4 record. Kaepernick leads the worst passing offense in the league with 2,487 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for another 407 yards and three touchdowns. Kaepernick has thrown touchdowns to just two receivers this year: Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. Boldin has caught 67 passes for 915 yards and five touchdowns while Davis has 44 catches for 726 yards and 11 touchdowns. Frank Gore leads the sixth-best rushing offense in the league with 931 yards and eight touchdowns.
On the other side of the field, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were also expected to do well in the 2013 season and possibly contend for a playoff spot behind quarterback Josh Freeman. However, Freeman has since been let go by the team and rookie QB Mike Glennon has taken over, leading the Buccaneers to four wins in the team’s past five games after an 0-8 start to the season. Glennon has passed for 2,052 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year while leading the second-worst passing offense in the league. The numbers are a bit deceiving, however, as he took over a few games into the year and has been producing ever since, targeting Vincent Jackson more than anyone else. Jackson has caught 64 passes for 1,033 yards and six touchdowns. Bobby Rainey is the team’s running back after injuries knocked out Mike James and Doug Martin for the year, rushing for 433 yards and four scores.
Defensively, the 49ers are one of the best units in the NFL. San Francisco has excelled in every major category, ranking third in points allowed, fourth in total yards allowed, fourth in passing yards allowed and 10th in rushing yards allowed per game. Tampa Bay 11th in points allowed per game, 13th in yards allowed per game as well as 17th in passing yards allowed per contest.
PREDICTION: 49ers 34, Buccaneers 21
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.