It’s the matchup we’ve all been waiting for: the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. Two dominant teams — arguably the two best teams in the NFL — facing off against each other, adding another chapter to a bitter rivalry that has burgeoned in recent years.
It is no secret that these two teams don’t like each other, from the head coaches to the players. To help preview this game, we checked in with Paul Novak of Emerald City Swagger, Fansided’s site for everything Seattle sports, and asked him five questions about the Seahawks:
1. Is the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry the best in the league?
Without a doubt. The two teams share a division in which they are clearly the cream of the crop. Not only do these teams hate each other, and always play with a little extra motivation — but also the history with Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh from their time in the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) adds something that no other teams have in their rivalries.
2. How loud does CenturyLink Field get? Can it really affect an opposing team’s communications?
Loud enough that your ears will still be ringing 24 hours after the game. CenturyLink seats 67,000 but is physically actually the smallest stadium in the NFL. The seats are closer to the field in both the lower and upper sections. The seats also angle so that the noise travels more directly toward the field of play. This is partly what allows the 12th Man to cause so many penalties for the opposing offense.
3. How were the Seahawks able to blow out the 49ers last season in Seattle? Can they do it again?
It was really a perfect storm for the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch was able to run at will against the 49ers defense which then allowed Russell Wilson to only attempt 21 passes, four of which were TD’s. A blocked FG that was scooped up by Richard Sherman was returned for a TD to give the Seahawks 21-0 lead and the 49ers had to play uphill from there. With the Seahawks having the top ranked defense in PPG allowed, it was already over.
The Seahawks could pull it off again, especially at home. It will be a challenge because the 49ers are clearly one of the top teams in the NFL and already playing at midseason form.
4. What are your thoughts on Jim Harbaugh’s comments this offseason regarding the Seahawks and PEDs? Did you like how several Seahawks players responded?
As much as we dislike Jim Harbaugh in Seattle and think he should stick to focusing on his own team, he was correct. The Seahawks have had recent trouble with PED fines and suspensions and it’s not something we, as fans, are willing to tolerate. When a Seahawks player is suspended, we hold them accountable. You’ll see many Hawks fans go to the players’ Twitter account and try and straighten them out.
The Seahawks players responded the way every team would, or should. They defended their own and told Harbaugh to keep his mouth shut. It’s a family in the Seahawks locker room and they look after each other.
With the way the roster has turned over since Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider arrived, I think we’d see a second offense for a player quickly met with a terminated contract from this organization.
5. Final score prediction and why?
Although I think the 49ers are playing at a higher level based on each teams’ Week 1 performance, I have to side with the Seahawks winning this one. Last season they went undefeated at home and I can’t see any team — even one as strong as the 49ers — ruining that. The Seahawks match up very well at each position, and we’ve seen that teams just can’t stop both Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Combined with a top five NFL defense, the Seahawks become almost unbeatable at home.
49ers – 21
Seahawks – 27