The San Francisco 49ers have managed to come home happy after their away trips so far this season, securing a 4-1 record while on the road.
However, history tells that defeating the Seattle Seahawks is not an easy feat, no matter what standings the teams are in – especially when visiting Lumen Field, where Seahawks opponents have to face the rowdy crowd alongside an aggressive team.
"That was one of the coolest atmospheres I've ever played in," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recalled. "I can remember pregame sitting there and just kind of soaking it in for that split second moment. But it will be a dog fight. We know that going into it. We have our minds right."
With Seattle's 12th man raining down on the 49ers, the Seahawks lead the series against San Francisco 15-5 while playing in their home territory and 7-2 overall against 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. As NFC West rivals, both fanbases can expect a hard-hitting battle on Sunday and a history-built rivalry that only continues to intensify as seasons progress.
"We're not supposed to like each other. You can definitely feel that from their fans and I love that – that's football," said four-year team captain George Kittle. "When you have a stadium, and it's built up like that and the sound is just coming down on you the whole time, and you can feel the passion of hatred from their fans – that's what football is supposed to be."
Despite the Seahawks sitting 0-3 since quarterback Russell Wilson returned after their Week 9 Bye, it isn't an excuse for San Francisco's defense to take their foot off the gas, especially while being without All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner. Warner, the "soul" of the 49ers defense, is expected to miss his first game of his four-year NFL career while nursing a hamstring injury. Without the linebacker, the 49ers will be faced with covering Wilson's vaunted deep passes. Despite the recent string of mediocre play, Wilson has executed six completions of over 20 yards over the past two weeks.
With sights set on extending their three-game win streak, San Francisco's pass defense will be tested again by another unnerving duo of wideouts in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Emmanuel Moseley is in the midst of an underrated season, where the corner has notched 10 passes defended through nine games, while also allowing a completion percentage of just 56 percent. He'll be eyeing a repeat performance from his Week 4 meeting against Seattle, where he limited Metcalf to just three catches on eight targets for 49 yards while also contributing two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. Despite Metcalf's uninspiring last three outings (26, 31 and 13 yards, respectively), Pete Carroll and the Seahawks offense always find a way to challenge San Francisco.
"They've been unfortunate the last couple of weeks but I think every time the Niners and Seahawks play it's a good game," Kittle said. "Whether they have zero wins and we're undefeated or we have zero wins and they're undefeated. I think it's going to be our toughest game of the year and they would probably say the same thing."
Added Nick Bosa: "We're definitely going to have to play our best game, especially in Seattle. They protect well, they have a good offensive line, good receivers and they have Russell Wilson. I know that we're not going to take them lightly."
Adding another win onto their record, especially against a division rival, will certainly give the 49ers a boost amid the tight NFC Wild Card race. But that victory won't come easy as Seattle is looking to play their own game of spoiler this time around. The 49ers are set to face the Seahawks in Seattle at 1:25 p.m. PT on CBS this Sunday.