The San Francisco 49ers have an NFC West rivalry contest early in the season against the Seattle Seahawks for their home opener at Levi's® Stadium. The Seahawks are coming off of a dramatic "Monday Night Football" win over the Denver Broncos and the 49ers unfortunately fell short to the Chicago Bears in a rainy Week 1 game. This week, the 49ers have set their focus on ways they can improve and hopefully finish Sunday with their first win of the season.
"Just being smarter," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We're trying to be more detailed in everything we do. Not to let anything slide. Point everything out, nothing different than usual. I expect us to be a lot cleaner this week."
1st Down: What Key Improvement Do the 49ers Need To Make Ahead of Week 2?
@LindseyLares: Third and Fourth Down Conversions
The 49ers need to really zero in on their third and fourth down conversion efficiency if they want to hit their stride offensively. San Francisco was 8-of-17 on third down and 0-2 on fourth down conversions, and if you can't sustain drives, you're limiting your own scoring opportunities. A variety of different things factor in converting for a first down, but one of the easy adjustments the 49ers can make is avoiding penalties that create long down and distance situations. On more than one occasion versus the Bears, unwanted penalties backed up the offense enough that drives were cut short.
@JesusZarate87: Reducing Penalties
The 49ers definitely have to reduce the penalties. It was an issue during preseason and unfortunately too many flags showed up again in Week 1. In the loss to Chicago, San Francisco committed 12 penalties for 99 yards versus only three for the Bears which cost them 24 yards. You're not going to win many football games no matter how talented you are with that many penalties. You add the rain and wet field conditions to all the yards lost because of flags, and it's almost impossible to win. The good news is that this is something the 49ers can control and it will be key to improve on that area going into Week 2.
@BriMcDonaldTV: Run Game
In Week 1, the 49ers leading rusher was quarterback Trey Lance. San Francisco faced some big challenges in their ground game against Chicago. For one, starting running back Elijah Mitchell was injured in the first half of the game and the team also played without George Kittle who is a key element to the 49ers rushing game for his run-blocking skills. Week 2 will now serve as an opportunity for RB Jeff Wilson Jr. to lead the team and for rookie backs Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason to put their talents on display.
2nd Down: Which Player Will Stand Out in Sunday's Contest?
In Week 1, it was safety Talanoa Hufanga who caught the attention of the fans with his relentless defensive efforts, and in Week 2, I'm expecting Bosa to put on a show. Bosa shared his dissatisfaction with the collective performance of the team versus the Bears immediately following the conclusion of the regular season opener. Not only does Bosa have the sting of a loss in Week 1 to fuel him, but also the high expectations of everyone across the league for him to own the stat sheet week-to-week. Bosa recorded his first sack of the year in Chicago, and in Week 2, it's possible he records his first multi-sack game of the 2022 season.
I think Greenlaw will stand out on Sunday. He had a tough game against the Bears but he's a great player. Greenlaw is a very important part of the 49ers defense and a really good linebacker. So I'm expecting him to bounce back this week. Great players are always making adjustments and learning from mistakes, so in Greenlaw's case, he has all the talent in the world to have a very solid season.
Wilson Jr. will be the 49ers starting running back in this week's contest and I believe he'll put on a show. Looking back on Seattle's "Monday Night Football" game against the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks rushing defense gave up 103 yards. San Francisco's veteran RB once led the 49ers in rushing yards during the 2020 season and the moment has called for him to step up once again.
3rd Down: Which Seahawks Player Must the 49ers Contain?
@LindseyLares: WR Tyler Lockett
The 49ers have to contain Lockett in addition to DK Metcalf. Lockett is coming off his best career season in 2021 in which he rushed for 1,175 yards and 10 touchdowns. If you can lock down Lockett, a big piece of Seattle's offense is missing.
@JesusZarate87: WR DK Metcalf
Metcalf is a tremendous athlete and really good overall. When you face Seattle, he is a player you always want to contain. If San Francisco is able to limit what Metcalf can do, they will make it much harder on Seattle's offense.
@BriMcDonaldTV: RB Rashaad Penny
Penny led Seattle in total net yards (60, averaging five yards per carry) against the Broncos, making him a clear offensive weapon for the Seahawks. He'll have to put up a good fight at Levi's® Stadium as the 49ers rank first in total defense and opposing yards per play according to NFL Media Research. If San Francisco's defense can continue to stop their opponent's run game early and keep their focus on attacking the ball, they'll eliminate a large part of Seattle's offense.
4th Down: What is Your Bold Prediction for the Home Opener Against the Seahawks?
@LindseyLares: My bold prediction is that the 49ers will pick up their first win versus Seattle in three years.
@JesusZarate87: The 49ers will register a touchdown on a kickoff return against the Seahawks. That's my bold prediction since the team added players to that area this year like Ray-Ray McCloud III, who are totally capable of doing that, and have a great special teams coordinator in Brian Schneider.