Not a must win, but real close
Niners must prepare for Vince Young, dynamic Chris Johnson

  • Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) grabs the face mask of Jacksonville safety Gerald Alexander in their game on Nov. 1. (John Russell / Associated Press)


WHERE: Candlestick Park

WHEN: 1:15 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5


THE LINE: 49ers by 4 (41 total)

THE SERIES: The 49ers lead series 7-4.

LAST MEETING: With Ken Dorsey at quarterback, the 49ers squandered a 14-9 halftime lead before falling to the Titans 33-22 in Nashville on Nov. 27, 2005. Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns in the win.


Titans RB Javon Ringer (back) is out; S Vincent Fuller (groin), CB Nicholas Harper (forearm), DE Jevon Kearse (knee), T Mike Otto (knee), T David Stewart (hamstring) and LB David Thornton (hip) are questionable.

49ers CB Nate Clements (shoulder), DE Demetric Evans (shoulder) and T Joe Staley (knee) are out; S Reggie Smith (groin) and LB Takeo Spikes (shoulder) are probable.


TITANS (1-6): Club owner Bud Adams made it known that he wanted to see Vince Young at quarterback for last weeks game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and coach Jeff Fisher obliged. Young took care of the ball and made good decisions. But the reason the Titans snapped a six-game losing streak was running back Chris Johnson, who rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee has not changed a whole lot from the team that went 13-3 last season, other than defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth leaving to sign a lucrative free-agent contract with the Washington Redskins. The Titans pass defense has been abysmal, as theyve surrendered 19 scoring passes in 7 games.

49ERS (3-4): The 49ers find themselves one game behind NFC West leader Arizona. While this is not a must win, the 49ers have to start putting some wins together to guarantee that their Dec. 14 game against the Cardinals is meaningful. They are trying to find some consistency on offense. The play of the offensive line must improve for the 49ers, even as left tackle Barry Sims takes over for injured Joe Staley. Alex Smith makes his second start of the season and his first in front of the home crowd. Rookie Michael Crabtree will probably receive a warm reception from the crowd as he makes his home debut after missing the 49ers first three games at Candlestick Park in a prolonged contract stalemate.

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