We rank the top 10 storylines to track for this 49ers-Seahawks matchup.
10. Coverage Units
9. The Cowboy's Impact
All-Pro defensive tackle
8. Davis Downfield
7. Reid's Encore
One game, one interception and one Pepsi Rookie of the Week nomination. Not bad for San Francisco’s first-round draft pick,
6. Loud Noises
Hand signals will be a key this week. Seattle’s home crowd can be so loud at times, it makes no sense to even try and scream out plays on the field. The 49ers will use intelligent communication strategies this week. But even more crucial to solving the noise problem, the first 30 minutes of action will dictate how enthusiastic the home crowd will be on Sunday night. If the 49ers can make a statement early, as suggested by star running back
5. Boldin vs. Sherman
One player likes to talk. The other likes to quiet the talking. Boldin is the one who will be quiet on Sunday. The 208-yard receiving wideout enters Sunday’s matchup focused on the work ahead and has less concerned about the individual matchup against Seattle’s best cornerback, Richard Sherman. If the Seahawks’ other starting cornerback, Brandon Browner, is unavailable to play for a second straight week, expect Sherman to consistently match up with Boldin. As far as games within a game are concerned, this will be a battle of two aggressive, physical players on the perimeter. Boldin noted how Sherman plays with patience at the line. Boldin also noted that he’s never been the type to spar verbally with an opponent.
4. Edge Rush
The 49ers sacked Aaron Rodgers twice last week and will have an even greater challenge against mobile quarterback Russell Wilson. The second-year passer was sacked twice himself last week, but he still poses a threat with his scrambling ability. San Francisco feels fortunate to have a pair of mobile quarterbacks, Kaepernick and rookie
3. Aggressive Coaching Decisions
It wouldn’t be a Jim Harbaugh vs. Pete Carroll football game without an aggressive play-call or two from either side. The two have formed one of the more noticeable coaching battles in both the collegiate and professional ranks. Both men are innovators and motivating coaches who are unafraid to make tough decisions on gameday. Harabugh, for example, had the confidence late in a Week 1 victory to successfully convert a 4th-and-2. The decision led the 49ers to burn crucial time off the clock, and it set up a 33-yard
2. Beast Mode
Seattle’s running attack has San Francisco’s complete attention. The player known for aggressive running, Lynch, enters Sunday’s primetime with four, 100-yard performances against the 49ers. Lynch even was compared to Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. San Francisco will look to employ a swarming tackling approach to the hard-running play-maker. It will also help that the 49ers will utilize a rotation on the defensive line.
1. The Eyebrow Bet
All eyes will be on the quarterbacks this week. It doesn’t get any easier to avoid attention when you shoot a commercial that promises the losing quarterback has to shave off an eyebrow. That’s the world we live in. Kaepernick and Wilson made sport of each other in the offseason commercial for EA Sports. There’s no reason to believe the bet will actually happen. Both have downplayed it and said it was for fun. So while the bet had everyone’s attention early in the week, the real emphasis will be on the in-game performance of each signal-caller. How the respective quarterbacks operate in key situations, red zone and third-down plays will play a huge part in determining Sunday’s winner.
- READ: Seahawks Show Kaepernick Respect
- READ: Defense Aims to Deny Marshawn Lynch
- READ: Harbaugh, Carroll Set to Compete
- LISTEN: Earl Thomas Talks Facing Boldin
- READ: Boldin to Battle’s Seattle’s Physical DBs
- READ: Mangini Helping out in Booth
- WATCH: Reid Not Bothered by Pressure