(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.)
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Aldon Smith hardly has a free moment to stop at his locker, much less give thought to any intriguing matchups or scenarios as he chases Michael Strahan's single-season NFL sacks record.
Yet, come Sunday at Candlestick Park, it won't be the injured Jake Long lining up against the 49ers defensive menace at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins but rather rookie replacement Jonathan Martin. He is a former Stanford player plenty familiar to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and the rest of the staff - and the young offensive lineman suddenly faces the daunting challenge of slowing down the NFL's sacks leader.
Smith has 17 1/2 sacks. Next up: getting the 5 1/2 sacks he needs over the final four games to break Strahan's mark of 22 1/2 sacks set in 2001 with the Giants.
---
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Bettors Split on NFC Title Game After the Eagles upset a public favorite last weekend in the Divisional Round, public bettors are split on whether or not Philly will thrive in the dog role again...
Thumbnail Early Money on Pats to Cover in AFC Early money is coming in on the New England Patriots to cover the spread against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game...
Thumbnail Eagles to Play Underdog Role Again The Eagles will have another opportunity to wear their dog masks this week as they've opened up as an underdog against the Vikings in...
Thumbnail Patriots Big Favorites vs. Jaguars The line is out for Sunday's AFC Championship Game and the Patriots are nearly double-digit favorites to beat the Jaguars in New England.
Thumbnail Non-Extra Point Costs Vikings Bettors Mike Zimmer's decision not to kick the extra point following Stefon Diggs' miracle touchdown versus the Saints on Sunday cost plenty of...

NFL Team Pages