The San Francisco 49ers will face their NFC West rival, the Seattle Seahawks, for the second time in a matter of three weeks, and if that wasn't challenge enough, they're doing so after an emotional, 42-19 victory over the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles. The Week 13 win extends the 49ers win streak to four-straight games, and while the team is rolling, they're taking special care to stay hungry during this postseason push.
"You go through such high emotions, and last week being Philly, two days later you have to completely wash it and focus on the next game," linebacker Fred Warner said. "We know what happened the last time we beat an NFC East team pretty good, and obviously are aware of that."
The 49ers last meeting with an NFC East opponent was in Week 5, and what happened after San Francisco's 42-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys was a three-game losing streak headed into their Week 9 Bye. Injuries played a big role in the team's midseason struggles, but with playoff positioning at stake, the 49ers aren't looking to open any doors for division rivals.
San Francisco was in the driver's seat for the entirety of their first meeting with Seattle, but did let them pick up steam in the third quarter and put up ten points on back-to-back drives in a span of roughly eight minutes.
"I think people know from that experience how that felt, and I don't think that's why we played bad, but I don't think it helped us," Shanahan said. "There's a very fine line there between two to five plays, and it ends up looking like the game got out of hand. It's very similar to the Thursday night game versus Seattle. That was a close game. Luckily our defense stayed strong in there in that third quarter rally, but that was right there and just a couple plays and then it doesn't look close, but they're always close."
"We have a really tough opponent in Seattle. We know what they bring every single time we play them," Warner said. "The score was what it was last game when we played them on Thanksgiving, but it's always a tight game all the way through.
"They're going to get some guys back who were not healthy the last time around, and we have to make sure we are dialed and focused today. Philly is done and over with."
Familiarity also plays a big role in the preparation for Week 14. This will be Shanahan's 14th regular season meeting versus the Seahawks and after seeing that team so many times in a span of seven years, it does present an interesting wrinkle in the game planning.
"I think we both understand how our teams are going to be," Shanahan said. "You don't have to overcomplicate things too much, which I guess when you don't overcomplicate things it makes it easier, but it's not as in either of us are easy to go against. I know what we're going to get from them, and I think they know what they're going to get from us."
"You're not going to surprise them too much, but you just have to keep finding ways to win," defensive lineman Nick Bosa said. "They're probably going to stick to what they did. I'm sure they can look at the tape, see holes and see that they played the run pretty well against us and have confidence going into the game. But, it's definitely going to be a harder matchup this time."