Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At San Francisco 49ers
- QuarterbackThe Seahawks have had the upper hand this season since they defeated the Niners in Seattle earlier in the season, but the Niners will get their chance to make a statement at home. Russell Wilson is the right quarterback to try and figure out the way to defeat the Niners because he is intelligent, accurate and athletic. He will take advantage of any mistakes the Niners make.It’s been a much more difficult year for Colin Kaepernick than he faced in 2012. While he has struggled quite a bit, Kaepernick has raised his game quite a bit in recent victories over the Redskins and the Rams. While the Seahawks have a much more formidable defense, Kaepernick is athletic enough to run through the creases and make big plays. If he is accurate in his passing, the Niners can find a way to win.
- OffenseThe Seahawks are willing to mix it up with the Niners and play a physical game to get an advantage, but there’s no way they are going to turn this into a slugfest. Marshawn Lynch is a power back who will be at his best against the Niners. The X-factor in this game could be Percy Harvin, who has returned after a hip injury kept him sidelined. Golden Tate has the hands to make big catches in traffic.The 49ers want to establish their running game as well, and Frank Gore is not about to take a back seat to Lynch in his home stadium. Gore is tough, strong and skilled. The Niners will try to attack Seattle’s outstanding secondary with tight end Vernon Davis, wide receiver Anquan Boldin and fellow wide out Mario Manningham.
- DefenseThe Seahawks rank second in the league in defense and they may be the most physical unit in the league. Keep your eye on under-appreciated middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who combines speed with excellent instincts. He almost never misses a tackle. Defensive end has excellent speed coming around the corner and can pressure the quarterback. Richard Sherman may be the best cover man in the NFL.The Niners are very solid on defense, but they may be a notch below the Seahawks. NaVorro Bowman is San Francisco’s top tackler and he combines his tackling ability with impressive speed. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is the team’s best pass rusher. He has 8.5 sacks, 42 tackles and seven passes defensed. Tramaine Brooks leads the Niners with four interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Seahawks are the best coverage team in the league, as they are allowing just 1.4 yards per punt return. Tate is also a solid return man. While he has decent speed, his power is his biggest asset. Placekicker Steven Hauschka is having an exceptional year, having made 24-of-24 FG attempts.The Niners have done a solid job covering punts, as they have not given up a return longer than 18 yards all season. However, they don’t appear to have any threats when they have return opportunities. Phil Dawson is not having his best year, but he is a dependable placekicker.
The Niners and Seahawks have one of the best rivalries in the league, but the pressure is squarely on the Niners to defend their homefield in this game. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor