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NFL

49ers Face the Redskins

Game Preview: San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
The 49ers travel to Washington DC this weekend to face the Redskins, one of the league's early surprise teams. The return last year of Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs from a 14-year coaching hiatus has revitalized that franchise, and though they're coming off two tough losses on the road (at Denver & at Kansas City), they figure to take the upcoming home game against the Niners with ease.

The bye week usually helps a team with injuries, but already decimated San Francisco finds themselves down yet another linebacker heading into the weekend. Saleem Rasheed, who was slated to play in place of the injured Jeff Ulbrich, will require surgery on his knee and will be gone for at least a month. Sure makes you miss Jamie Winborn doesn't it? Hope that 7th round pick pans out.

And speaking of 7th rounders, Nolan grabbed another one -- shipping Tim Rattay off to Tampa Bay in exchange for a conditional. For all his talk about competing for the NFC West this season, it sure seems like he's got his eye on next year. Makes you wonder who's next. Rashaun Woods? Mike Rumph? Ahmed Plummer? Kevan Barlow? Nolan seems intent on putting his stamp on the team ASAP. And with job security being the way it is in the NFL, that's probably not a bad idea -- he knows he's already got a repreive this year, but will fans' patience wear thin by the next?

So for all that's happening on the sideline and in the locker room, it's a wonder the team has any time to prepare for the game. It will be interesting to see if Alex Smith can improve on his 4 INT performance against a Washington defense that has allowed fewer yards per game than all but four teams, but has only produced two tournovers (an interception and a fumble recovery) so far this year.

The Redskins' secondary has been missing both of its starting cornerbacks for two weeks, but both look to be ready to return, so you can be certain they'll try to force the turnover issue. Washington Defensive coach Gregg Williams runs a high-pressure, blitz-oriented scheme -- meaning rookie QBs standing behind terrible offensive lines should probably stay extra alert.

Predicted Score: Washington Redskins 27 - San Francisco 49ers 10


Other Predicted Scores:
Detroit Lions 17 @ Cleveland Browns 20
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 @ Cincinnati Bengals 23
Kansas City Chiefs 24 @ Miami Dolphins 14
Green Bay Packers 19 @ Minnesota Vikings 17
San Diego Chargers 21 @ Philadelphia Eagles 20
New Orleans Saints 21 @ St Louis Rams 28
Indianapolis Colts 30 @ Houston Texans 9
Dallas Cowboys 16 @ Seattle Seahawks 24
Tennessee Titans 16 @ Arizona Cardinals 17
Buffalo Bills 24 @ Oakland Raiders 23
Denver Broncos 28 @ New York Giants 27
Baltimore Ravens 10 @ Chicago Bears 17
New York Jets 17 @ Atlanta Falcons 27