Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!!! It would be only right if Michael Buffer was on Sunday Night Football to introduce this heavyweight fight. The rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks is at it’s all time high. It has taken over for the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers as the best rivalry in the NFL.
The 49ers will go back to Seattle in this go round. They return to the scene of the physical defeat that the Seahawks gave them in the second to last game of the 2012 regular season. This time the 49ers will have a healthy Aldon Smith and Justin Smith. Aldon Smith suffered a labrum injury but still played while Justin Smith had the torn triceps. Vernon Davis will be set to play a full game as well after being knocked out of the game by Cam Chancellor last year.
The Seahawks will probably be missing a big part of their best unit as Brandon Browner didn’t practice on Thursday and is said to be questionable for the game on Sunday. That is ironic because he said that he wanted to “wrap his hands around Harbaugh’s neck” after the comments that the coach made about the Seahawks.
Losing Browner will hurt the Seattle secondary even though they are said to be very high on Walter Thurmond III and Byron Maxwell. There have been some rumblings that the Seahawks will look to match up Richard Sherman on Vernon Davis. If that happens, the 49ers are at an advantage because the Anquan Boldin against Thurmond match up works in their favor.
If the Seahawks do go to man defense, Colin Kaepernick will have the chance to get some big gains by scrambling when the pocket breaks down. They should try to work the four vertical routes against man defense. That will make the defensive backs turn their backs to the quarterback when they turn and run with the receivers on their vertical routes. The Divisional Playoff game against the Packers was an excellent example of this.
The 49ers will look to run the ball more to take the Seattle crowd out of the game. They will need to attack the Seahawks on the ground. The advantage that the 49ers have is their offensive line against the Seahawks’ front seven. It will be important to get the ball to Kendall Hunter on the quick hit runs that he excels at. Getting the running game going will allow the 49ers to work their play action passing game that was so effective against the Green Bay Packers.
It will be very important for the 49ers to work on getting the plays in quickly so Kaepernick will be able make the necessary adjustments at the line of scrimmage. There is a lot of communication that goes on pre-snap and the crowd noise will be looking to set a record for stadium noise. The 12th man takes pride in causing false starts from the decibels that they are able to reach at Qwest Field.
Russell Wilson vs 49ers Pass Rush Wilson has been able to somehow elude the 49ers pass rush on numerous occasions. After doing so, he has been able to push the ball down field for a deflating play that results in a big gain. It will be major for the 49ers to not only get to Wilson but bring him down. He has a Fran Tarkenton like ability to turn a broken play into a big one. The Seahawks have gone with max protection and looked to get vertical against eh 49ers before. This week will be no different.
Richard Sherman vs Vernon Davis This would not be the first time that Vernon Davis had to go against a team’s number one corner. Davis has the speed to beat Sherman but it is more than likely that this match up will draw some double teams. It will also open things up for Vance McDonald against a smaller defender in Malcolm Smith or Byron Maxwell.
Colin Kaepernick vs Seahawks Secondary The back end of the defense is the strong point for the Seahawks. The only way to win is to establish some form of balance. It is clear that the 49ers will run the ball but they will need to attack the field on all levels. Kaepernick had the longest average in terms of how long the ball travels per attempt (13 yards).
Brandon Browner is likely to miss this game as he did not practice on Thursday. That will be a big loss for the Seahawks because they like to use man defense.
The 12th man is looking to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for crowd noise. The 49ers have practiced with music at a very high volume to simulate the crowd noise.
Anthony Dixon so far is the only player to fire a shot when he said that he is getting ready to face the “She-hawks.”
This is a match up of the top two defenses when it comes to points allowed last year.
Both of these teams will be looking to get their running game back on track. Marshawn Lynch had 41 yards rushing against the Carolina Panthers and Frank Gore had 44 yards rushing against the Packers.
Here is your injury report:
Brandon Browner CB Hamstring (Did Not Practice) Doubtful
Jordan Hill DT Biceps (Did Not Practice) Out
Jeron Johnson SS Hamstring (Did Not Practice) Doubtful
Tony McDaniel DT Groin (Did Not Practice) Probable
Brandon Membane DT (Limited Practice) Probably
Sidney Rice WR Knee (Full Practice) Probable
Cliff Avril DE Hamstring (Full Practice) Probable
Chris Clemons DE Knee (Full Practice) Questionable
Luke Wilson TE Oblique (Full Practice) Probable
Michael Bowie T Shoulder (Full Practice) Probable)
LaMichael James RB Knee (Did Not Practice)
These teams as a whole are evenly matched. Both make it a point to run the ball and rely on their defense. They are very physical teams also. Eric Reid is a rookie safety that will be looking to carve his niche as a player that gives the 49ers a physical presence in the middle of the field. He played very well against the Packers with the exception of a missed tackle.
This game will be a very intense game that will feature some of the most physical play of the season. It is a good GPS game that will allow both teams to get a very good gauge of where they are. Both of these teams have very good defenses. Seattle is tough to be at home so the 49ers will have their hands full in this one.