Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/5/12

The last time the Buffalo Bills entered Candlestick Park, the 2004 San Francisco 49ers started a struggling quarterback (not named Smith!) the day after Christmas on the way to a 2-14 season under then coach, Dennis Erickson.

Drew Bledsoe played conservatively following a running game that pounded the Niners for 226 yards and a 41-7 score.

Oh, how things change! In 2012, if you have yet to notice, these are not last decade’s 49ers. Fortunately, for San Francisco, these are the same Buffalo Bills.

The Bills raised investments during the off-season.

Though the team enters Week 5 with an even record, the returns on their expenditures have been minimal. On defense, the Bills rank 27th in total defense, 30th in points allowed, 27th against the run and 26th on 3rd down.

Only the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed more points despite Buffalo's first four opponents holding a combined record of 5-11.

To worsen their matters, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play outside the boundaries of his talent.Intertwined with Fitzpatrick's great play are lapses in judgment. Though he has thrown 12 touchdowns; he has also committed 8 turnovers.

As they did for their opponent last week, San Francisco will help Buffalo define their season after Sunday's loss. Let's face it. The AFC East is a soft division. Winning the division is the only chance to makes the playoffs.

As bad as the Jets are playing, they can go to the pen. The Bills have no such resources and neither will overcome the Patriots. The 49ers will further expose the Bills as an undisciplined team who cannot stop the run, turn the ball over often and go big play or bust to a fault.

The Bills could be a winner (should be a winner), but they have yet to explicitly and sufficiently problem solve. In 2012, this failing strategy will result in a yawning 8-8 season.

Last year, at this point in the season; the San Francisco 49ers established the same record (3-1) and scored two more points than this year's team before a blowout win Week 5. They did not lose again until Week 12.

Barring injury, this year's 49ers will travel a similar path as last year. On the head of the Buffalo Bills, they will win big on Sunday then continue a winning run to enter Week 12 at 9-1. All of the pieces are in place: talent, proper organization, winning attitude, decent health, positive momentum and room for growth.

Last year's NFC Divisional Playoff Game win versus the New Orleans Saints shocked many on several levels. One such area was how the Niners found ways to score blow-for-blow against the Saints. They acknowledged an unexpected fecundity on the offensive end.

While unable to carry that level of play into the NFC Championship, the team quickly made moves to eradicate the offensive weaknesses that plagued them in that game. The expectation is quick dash and smash down the field.

Yet, fans of the Niners team want to watch while they open up the offense when necessary.

The enthusiasts will get what they want Sunday. Randy Moss will get more deep looks. Mario Manningham will continue to be a safety valve and big play guy for Alex Smith, while Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore will continue on the same progressive path. The team will set the stage to becoming an unstoppable force as a whole, but more specifically on the offensive end.

The 49ers win, 37-10.



GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Paul George extremely critical of Pacers following trade deadline

Chris Bosh joining TNT as analyst

Cameron Payne will have chance to shine with Bulls

Danny Ainge opens up about why Celtics didn’t make a trade before deadline

Kevin Durant wants to be NBA GM or owner after playing career

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Mavericks discussing buyout with Deron Williams

T-Wolves reportedly backed away from Ricky Rubio-Derrick Rose trade

DeMarcus Cousins calls duo with Anthony Davis ‘Fire and Ice’

Reasons why 76ers got so little for Nerlens Noel emerge

John Lynch: 49ers ‘absolutely’ need to improve at QB position

Report: Raptors trade Jared Sullinger, two future picks to Suns for P.J. Tucker

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker