Week 14/Game 13: Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
When: Sunday, December 8th at 1:25 pm PT
Where: Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Ca.
TV: FOX (About 80% of the USA)
Northern & Central California: KTVU 2 San Francisco; KTXL 40 Sacramento; KMPH 26 Fresno; KCVU 20 Chico-Redding; KBVU 28 Eureka
Pacific Northwest: KCPQ 13 Seattle; KAYU 28 Spokane; KPTV 12 Portland, Ore.
Direct TV Sunday Ticket: Channel 716
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Introducing the New Arch Rival- Truthfully the Seattle Seahawks really don’t need any kind of introduction to the 49ers at all. Given the bitterness and nastiness of the games the two teams have played over the last three seasons, the Seahawks have crossed into “Arch Rival” status in much the same way the Dallas Cowboys and St Louis Rams have in the past. The 49ers to cut right to the chase will have their work cut out for them here. The Seahawks are a team that not only looks to beat an opponent, but also to bury them as well. In the franchises’ 37 year history, the 2013 rendition of this franchise is clearly their best team ever. The scary thing is that they are being built to last and management that knows where and how to invest their money wisely. The Seahawks 11-1 record through twelve games is really no accident as their rout of the New Orleans Saints this past Monday proved.. The 49ers only have really two choices in this upcoming game, either 1) Bring the A-Game and be very precise with their ability to execute on both sides of the football, or 2) face the not so wonderful prospect of another long afternoon against a team that right now is close to becoming a prohibitive Super Bowl favorite. If the 49ers don’t win this game it may not be the end of the world as far as the Wild Card chase goes, however being 0-2 against this team with the possibility of facing them January at Century Link Field is not the best of prospects. Going back to Week 2, Seattle’s 29-3 blowout win saw the Seahawks score 24 second half points against a defense that eventually tired out as the 49ers on offense outside of a field goal drive simply never moved the football. Obviously that will have to change here if the 49ers are to have a shot at this game. One thing is for certain, by the time it is all said and done for this Sunday we will all see what they 49ers have learned 12 Weeks since that Sept 15th late afternoon/early evening. For the 49ers Week 14 is what NFL.com is calling “Survival Sunday”.
Seattle Offense- Simply put the Seahawks are one of the best offensive units in the NFL. They can score from anywhere on the field at any time. Knowing this the 49ers defense must have their “A-Game” ready to go. Russell Wilson is a very strong duel threat as he can throw the ball with deadly accuracy. Wilson can also run the ball and usually has a head start because of his offensive line, also one of the best in the NFL. Marshawn Lynch has also become one of the best running backs in the NFL as well. If you can’t stop Lynch at or before the line of scrimmage, he can break a run off from anywhere on the field. Seahawks back-up running back Robert Turbin is nothing to sneeze at either as he can carry the load when needed. Receiving options for Wilson include Golden Tate who’s made no secret of the fact he has total disdain for the 49ers franchise. Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Percy Harvin (back from injury) are all a big part of one of the league’s best air attacks.
Seattle Defense- In addition to having one of the top offenses in the league the Seahawks also boast rated first against the pass and second in points allowed to the opposition. The Seattle defense has few if any weaknesses and the 49ers offense is going to have their hands full trying to navigate downfield all afternoon. They also like to play mind games with the opposition as intimidation and bruising hits are a tool they try to use very effectively. If they can get a team out of their game, they have you and they know it. Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancelor, KJ Wright, Richard Sherman, Walter Thurmond and Tony McDaniel between them have a over a combined 300 tackles. The 49ers offense will need to bring their best game Sunday, they really have no other choice.
What the 49ers Need to Do- The 49ers will need to be ready to bring their best game to Candlestick Park Sunday. If the 49ers do this they can give the Seahawks a run for their money and certainly have a chance at a win. The 49ers know they need this game if for no other reason for their own psyche. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was brought in a few seasons ago not only to help remake the 49ers into a contending team but also to have a team that can be well prepared for high octane games such as this one. With Michael Crabtreee back in the line-up 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has another option that can spread the field which has returned at the absolute right time. Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis are going to need to find ways to exploit whatever weaknesses the can find in the Seahawks secondary. Bruce Miller, Mario Manningham, Vance McDonald and Jon Bladwin also must get involved in the passing game along with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon. The 49ers also must find a way to effectively move the ball on the ground which is something that has been lacking the past few games. Gore has been having problems getting out of the backfield as of late as the 49ers most prolific rusher the past few weeks has been Kaepernick himself. For all of this to work the 49ers offensive line will need to be able to hold up against one of the toughest defenses they will see all season. They have had problems doing this in the last couple of games and this will need to change here and now.
On defense the 49ers give the Seahawks one of the stiffest challenges they will also see for most of the season. NoVarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks, Donte Whitner know they have their work cut out for them against Russell Wilson & Company. One of the keys to containing the Seahawks offense is getting an effective rush on Wilson forcing him to change the play. In the process, they 49ers cannot allow Wilson go get out of the box and improvise. If the 49ers can apply pressure on Wilson and get some hits on him early it could set the table for their defense. The 49ers defense is no stranger to big game pressure and know that if they can find a way to get to Wilson, contain Lynch and cover well in the secondary they will be able to level the playing field. In a nutshell this is what needs to happen if they 49ers have aspirations to come away with a win here. If even one of these things does not happen that will favor Seattle.
Kingshark Line- It’s all hands on deck for the 49ers on Sunday. The 49ers have compartmentalized the earlier season game in Seattle rather well. The NFC West division at this point is pretty much a foregone conclusion. However if Seattle is going to clinch the NFC West, the 49ers do not want that to happen at Candlestick Park. The 49ers honestly if they have one thing going for them here is that there is no pressure to win the division. They already know this isn’t happening this season. If the 49ers take the approach that they are the one holding the house money this will allow them to open the playbook without any real intrepidation. The 49ers have to take the position of the best way to handle the bully is to punch him in the mouth first and be able to continue to punch him for four quarters. If the Seahawks are to win, don’t let it be without a fight. If the 49ers take the fight to Seattle they may be able to take the game to them to. It won’t be easy and will be tight all afternoon long. A close game favors the 49ers. This is what taking care of business is all about. 49ers 23 Seahawks 20. The 49ers defense finds a way to get it done. The offense finds away to get just enough.
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