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Key Matchups: Buccaneers vs. 49ers

Posted Dec 13, 2013

Bucs QB Mike Glennon has done an outstanding job of limiting turnovers in his rookie season, but he'll be dealing with a 49ers linebacking corps that produces big plays in bunches

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) will take on the San Francisco 49ers (9-4) Suday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Here are several matchups between individual players and/or certain team units that could go a long way towards determining the game's final outcome:

QB Mike Glennon vs. 49ers Linebacker Corps
This season, Glennon has claimed the top three passer-rating games by a rookie in Bucs history and has led the Buccaneers to three straight wins at home. Today, he faces one of the top LB groups in the league, whose starters have 14.5 sacks between them. Glennon must continue to manage the game well and limit mistakes, not letting the 49ers get to him.
-- QB M. Glennon must deal with a 49ers linebacking corps loaded with Pro Bowl talente

LB Lavonte David vs. QB Colin Kaepernick
David is creating a statline reminiscent of the greatest Bucs defensive playmakers of the past. Last week he had a sack and two INTs, making him the first linebacker in NFL history to register six sacks and five INTs in a season. He is fifth in tackles and leads the NFL in tackles for loss. Kaepernick is a proficient runner and passer, but David has become a must-watch matchup against any QB in the league.

RB Bobby Rainey vs. RB Frank Gore
Both teams have shown success when the ground game gets going, making this an important matchup. Rainey has 4.6 yards per carry as a Buc and has scored five times in Tampa Bay’s four victories. Gore is 69 yards away from his seventh 1,000-yard season in this run-first offense. Good things happen when these two have good days.

CB Darrelle Revis vs WR Anquan Boldin
Since fellow WR Michael Crabtree has returned to the lineup, Boldin has become a completely different player. Now, with teams unable to bracket him, Boldin has 20 catches for 285 yards and two TDs in his last three games. Today, he will likely see a lot of the Buccaneers’ top cornerback, Darrelle Revis, who has been keeping number-one receivers in check all year long, excelling in man-to-man coverage.

CB Johnthan Banks vs. WR Michael Crabtree
Coming off injury, this is Crabtree’s third game of the season. Last year, he was Kaepernick’s top target, averaging 6.9 receptions and 102.9 yards per game over the final eight games, including playoffs. Against the Bucs this year, teams’ second and third WRs have posted impressive stats. With two INTs in the last three games, Banks must continue his solid play as plenty of throws could come his direction.

Buccaneers Safeties vs. TE Vernon Davis
Davis is the 49ers’ top scoring threat, boasting 44 receptions, 726 yards and one touchdown per every four receptions. Since giving up two TDs, 18 catches and 265 yards to TEs over their first two games, the Bucs have clamped down against the position, averaging just 4.2 receptions and 41.3 yards through the last 11 games.