Rivalry week is here for the San Francisco 49ers.
Sure, every game in the National Football League brings back fond memories of back-and-forth battles between two respective clubs, but this week has a little more oomph to it.
The 49ers will host the Seattle Seahawks in a nationally-televised game on Thanksgiving night, no less.
But for Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco's quarterback who is coming off his 18th consecutive game with a touchdown pass in a 17-13 home win over Washington, Thursday night is just like the other 15 games on the regular season schedule.
"Just another game we need to win to get into the playoffs," Kaepernick said with an expression-less face on Monday.
Thursday's Thanksgiving feast for the football-viewing world will be the first of two NFC West clashes between San Francisco and Seattle in a three-week span.
Kaepernick maintained that his focus is purely on Thursday's game. It's an acclerated week for the 49ers. On the positive side of things, the team has a well-documented recent history with the Seahawks, including three matchups last season.
Seattle won both of its home games, with the NFC title game victory propelling the franchise to its first Super Bowl win.
The 49ers and Seahawks have a long history, going back to 1976. Here are photos from their 38 meetings.
Kaepernick said he's moved on from last season's January road loss in the Pacific Northwest. The 49ers quarterback didn't care to relive his final pass of the 2013 season, a red-zone go route to Michael Crabtree that was tipped by All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith.
"Obviously you want to win that game," Kaepernick said, "but it's in the past."
San Francisco's coaching staff worked late Sunday night to game plan for the anticipated matchup with Seattle. Players are just starting to review film and what schemes the coaches have devised for Thursday night.
The 49ers will look to build on their clutch finish to Week 12. Kaepernick led the first-team offense to its first fourth-quarter scoring drive against Washington. The comeback experience should benefit San Francisco's offense heading into a rivalry game against a stout Seattle defense, ranked third in pass defense and sixth in stopping the run.
"We've had some tough games that we've come out with wins," Kaepernick said of his team's three-game winning streak. "You have to do that to get into the playoffs and play well."
With San Francisco and Seattle sharing a 7-4 record, they're currently outside of the NFC Wild Card race (Detroit Lions at 7-4 has a tie-breaker edge). Both NFC West clubs are also two games back of the division-leading Arizona Cardinals. That means Thursday's matchup is as close to a playoff game as you'll see in late November.
Throw in the reminders of how last year's pivotal NFC Championship game ended and you can understand the sizzle of this upcoming encounter.
But when Kaepernick was asked to share his thoughts on Sherman, the 49ers quarterback didn't feel the need to speak on the subject. "I don't have any," Kaepernick said. "I'm worried about what we're doing."
So does Kaepernick plan to throw towards Sherman's side of the field?
"I'll throw to whoever's open."