The Bye Week is over, and the San Francisco 49ers are atop the NFC with a 3-0 record. While virtually no one is giving the 49ers credit for this turnaround, it is important to take this one game at a time. Like Coach Kyle Shanahan stated, "I've been 5-0 and missed the playoffs." There is still a lot of season left.

Up next are the Cleveland Browns tomorrow night on Monday Night Football. The Browns are 2-2 and are garnering more respect at this point than the 49ers. While San Francisco will have a great opportunity to improve to 4-0, this will not be an easy game. Here are five keys to winning this game and perhaps turning a few heads in the process:

Where and When: Monday, October 7 at 5:15 PST at Levi's Stadium

Where to Watch: How to watch or listen to Browns at 49ers

1) Ensure Nick Chubb Does Not Take Over This Game


Nick Chubb is the fourth leading rusher in the league this year with 398 yards, a 5.1 yards-per-carry average, and four touchdowns. He seems to be getting better each week, and limiting him will be paramount.

If the 49ers can force the Browns to pass, it will go a long way in giving the defense a chance to get to Baker Mayfield and give the ball back to the offense.

2) Take Care of the Football


Week 3 against the Steelers was an extremely frustrating game that saw the 49ers commit five turnovers, including three in the red zone.

The Browns have a better offense than the Steelers and if given a short field, rest assured, will put up more than a couple of field goals.

San Francisco will need a balanced attack but, most importantly, zero turnovers.

3) Win in the Trenches


It's no secret that the Browns do not possess the greatest of offensive lines, but the burden of proof is on the 49ers to execute and create a lot of pressure up front.

They must hit Mayfield and get off the field, while hopefully racking up a couple of turnovers and sacks along the way.

On the other side, the 49ers' offensive line will need to protect Jimmy Garoppolo. The matchup that is getting the most attention is Justin Skule against Myles Garrett. We will find out a little more about the progress of the rookie and how he fared against an elite pass rusher.

If Garoppolo can stay clean, the passing attack should have a great chance to break out.

4) Limit the Penalties


While the penalty situation has not been as dire as it was after Week 1, it still rears its ugly head. The 49ers cannot afford to have big plays taken away by bonehead penalties.

The other issue is field position. The 49er offense works best when it wins on first and second down. Getting stuck in a first or second and long can, many times, be a drive killer and can back them up into poor field position.

San Francisco may not score every time it has the ball, but they can't afford to let Cleveland start at midfield due to a penalty (or even a sack) that forces a punt from deep inside its own territory.

5) Splash Plays


This is a statement game and will require "splash plays" on both sides of the ball early and late in the game.

While the 49ers have the ability to grind out a tight game, they will make things much easier for themselves with big plays from the offense and a turnover from the defense.

Prediction


The 49ers know they aren't getting any respect and that they need to make a statement. They have gotten rest and are relatively healthy.

The offense will control the football, and the pass rush will make life very uncomfortable for Baker Mayfield, taking the pressure off the secondary.

49ers 34, Browns 20