Game Preview: Seahawks-49ers

Game Preview: Seahawks-49ers

Brian McIntyre of NorthwestFootball.net previews Sunday's Seattle Seahawks-San Francisco 49ers game.

Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0)

Time & Place:
Sunday, September 20, 2009
1:05pm PT
Candlestick Park
San Francisco, CA

Regular season series: Sunday will be the 21st meeting between the Seahawks and 49ers, with the Seahawks holding an 11-9 edge in the series. Seattle has won 9 of the last 12 meetings.

Notable Newcomers

San Francisco
Dre Bly, CB (UFA, Denver)
Demetric Evans, DE (UFA, Washington)
Marques Harris, LB (UFA, Chicago)
Brandon Jones, WR (UFA, Tennessee)
Moran Norris, FB (UFA, Detroit)
Tony Pashos, OT (UFA, Jacksonville)

Seattle
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR (UFA, Cincinnati)
Colin Cole, DT (UFA, Green Bay)
John Owens, TE (UFA, Detroit)
Ken Lucas, CB (UFA, Carolina)
Lawyer Milloy, S (UFA, Atlanta)

2009 Draft Class

San Francisco
*Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech (1st round, 10th overall)
Glen Coffee, RB, Alabama (3rd round, 74th overall)
Scott McKillop, LB, Pittsburgh (5th round, 146th overall)
Nate Davis, QB, Ball State (5th round, 171st overall)
**Bear Pascoe, TE, Fresno State (6th round, 184th overall)
Curtis Taylor, S, LSU (7th round, 219th overall)
Ricky Jean-Francois, DE, LSU (7th round, 244th overall)

Seattle
Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest (1st round, 4th overall)
Max Unger, C/G, Oregon (2nd round, 49th overall)
Deon Butler, WR, Penn State (3rd round, 91st overall)
Mike Teel, QB, Rutgers (6th round, 178th overall)
**Courtney Greene, S, Rutgers (7th round, 245th overall)
Nick Reed, DE, Oregon (7th round, 247th overall)
Cameron Morrah, TE, California (7th round, 248th overall)
*-Unsigned
**-Waived

Stats & Rankings

San Francisco

Offense
Total: 29th (203.0 yards per game)
Passing: 22nd (182.0 yards per game)
Rushing: 32nd (21.0 yards per game)
Scoring: t-16th (20.0 points per game)

Defense
Total: 15th (299.0 yards per game)
Passing: 9th  (259.0 yards per game)
Rushing: 6th (40.0 yards per game)
Scoring: 12th (16.0 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: t-8th (+1)

Seattle 

Offense
Total: 6th (446.0 yards per game)
Passing: 7th (279.0 yards per game)
Rushing: 6h (167.0 yards per game)
Scoring: 6th (28 points per game)

Defense
Total: 8th (247.0 yards per game)
Passing: 9th (170 yards per game)
Rushing: t-12th (77.0 yards per game)
Scoring: 1st (0.0 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: t-26th (-2)

Injury Report

San Francisco

OUT: LB Ahmad Brooks (knee)
Doubtful: WR Brandon Jones (shoulder)
Probable: Probable: G David Baas (biceps), DT Aubrayo Franklin (shin), CB Marcus Hudson (knee), G Chilo Rachal (neck), DE Justin Smith (elbow), DE Isaac Sopoaga (shoulder)

Seattle

OUT: LB Leroy Hill (groin)
Questionable: LB Lofa Tatupu (hamstring), WR Deion Branch (hamstring), T Walter Jones (knee), DT Brandon Mebane (calf), CB Travis Fisher (knee), C Chris Spencer (quad)
Probable: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back), S C.J. Wallace (rib)

TV/Radio

FOX is sending Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick to the Bay Area for the broadcast. Locally the game will be shown on Q13, with 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN Seattle providing the radio broadcast, with Steve Raible on play-by-play, Warren Moon on analysis, and Jen Mueller reporting from the sidelines.

Vegas Line: 49ers -1 ½ (o/u 39 ½) 

Keys to the Game

Protect the football – If Seattle turns the ball over three times in the first quarter this Sunday like they did last week against the Rams, they have virtually no chance of beating the 49ers. If they need a reminder of this, all they need to do is put on the film from Week 2 of the 2008 season, where three turnovers against the 49ers wound up costing the Seahawks a much-needed first win of the season.

Contain Gore; Rattle DavisFrank Gore is the 49ers' top offensive weapon and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye proved last week that they will continue to feed him the ball, even if he isn't very effective. Seattle struggled to defend backs and tight ends in the passing game, particularly on third down last season, so they'll need to tighten their coverage against Gore, Vernon Davis, and the underrated Delanie Walker.

Davis' very public benching last season came after Brian Russell got under his skin and drew a personal foul penalty. He has reportedly matured over the off-season, even earning an offensive captaincy, but the Seahawks should try to get under his skin to take him off his game. Aaron Curry did an outstanding job of this against St. Louis and we could see more of the same on Sunday.

Screen Passes – Matt Hasselbeck and Nate Burleson caught the Rams in a couple of cornerback blitzes by connecting on some quick hitches, but Greg Knapp called just two screen passes to the running backs last week. With the 49ers pass rush improved over last season, he might want to call a few screens early to slow them down.  

NorthwestFootball.net Prediction

The winner of this game has a chance to jump out to a big lead in the NFC West and, if the "experts" are correct and 9-7 will be enough to win the division, would only need to play .500 the rest of the way to host a playoff game in January.  While the 49ers have improved—and that's a good thing as this rivalry, and the NFL, is better when the 49ers are playing well—the Seahawks have a clear edge in talent over San Francisco, particularly at quarterback, and that'll be the difference on Sunday.

Pick: Seahawks 23, 49ers 17

In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog and writes for FalconInsider.com on the Scout network. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so by clicking here.

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