NFL Week Eleven Predictions: Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco

Great expectations preceded the 2010 season for the San Francisco 49ers (3-6) and the team has done nothing but fall flat on their faces for the first nine games. Why should anything be different in week eleven of the NFL season as the 49ers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)? San Francisco has been a darling of the Vegas odds makers all season and they have been posted as -3 1/2 point favorites at home.

However, being a favorite has not been kind to San Francisco as they are 1-5 against the spread. Tampa, on the other hand, is 4-0 against the spread on the road. The 49ers have won two straight games and three of four since losing their first five games. Quarterback Troy Smith has sparked the 49ers and he threw for 356 yards in a victory over the St. Louis Rams last week. Frank Gore, at running back, has been steady all season with 778 yards with just three touchdowns. WR Michael Crabtree has been getting better each week and has four touchdown receptions. The defense has been steady and the team ranks 10th in rushing defense with Patrick Willis filling holes in the middle at linebacker.

Tampa has been one of the surprises of the NFL, winning four games by three points or less. The defensive front can be run on, which is bad news when facing Gore, but the pass defense has been solid with 14 interceptions led by Aqib Talib’s 5 INTs. Josh Freeman has made big strides in his second season, with 12 TDs, and Mike Williams has been the big play guy with 5 TDs and a 15.7 yards per catch average. In the past few weeks, LeGarrette Blount has jump-started the running game and could have success against the 49ers.

Tampa is poised to win another close game on the road but the 49ers have been hot with Smith behind center and San Francisco should win, but not against the spread, in what will be a tight, low-scoring game.

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