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 week?s 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 they?ve 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.


?In my mind, every game is a must win. But I don?t look at, ?Well, the next two games, we?ve got to ... ? No, I don?t look at it like that because when you do the math, it just comes down to winning the games that we need to win in order to win the division, that?s our first goal.?

? 49ers coach Mike Singletary on

the importance of today?s game

TITANS WILL WIN IF . . . Johnson and Young are able to pick up big third downs with their legs.

49ERS WILL WIN IF . . . running back Frank Gore consistently gets 5 yards on first downs, and the 49ers avoid turnovers.


QB Alex Smith vs. QB Vince Young

Whichever one of these former high draft picks avoids the costly mistake and converts on third downs will put his team in the best position to pull out the victory.

LB Parys Haralson vs. RT David Stewart

Haralson, team leader in sacks in ?08, has gotten to the QB just once this season. Stewart, a five-year pro, has yielded a half-sack in the first seven games.

WR Michael Crabtree vs. CB Cortland Finnegan

It hasn?t taken Crabtree long to become the team?s No. 1 wideout. He?ll be matched against Finnegan, an aggressive corner named to the Pro Bowl last season.