(By Daisy Barringer)
The Bears and Green Bay. The Steelers and the Ravens. The Cowboys and the Niners. The Cowboys and the Redskins. The Cowboys and the Giants. The Cowboys and the Eagles. The Cowboys and pretty much everyone???
These are all classic NFL rivalries. There are more, of course. We all have teams we despise. My list is so long that it actually determines whom I will and will not date. (Sorry, fans of the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, NY Giants, NE Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New Orleans Saints.) But, my friends, there is a new rivalry in town. One that’s been festering and intensifying for years but is finally in serious true effect because both teams are finally legitimately good. And oddly similar. And in the NFC West. And playing each other in front of the whole country this Sunday night.
That’s right: The 49ers are heading to CenturyLink Field to face off against the Seachickens. I mean Seacocks. I mean Seahawks. And things are gonna get real.
Pete Carroll can suck it. Seriously, is there any coach besides Bill Belichik who is more annoying. I can’t stand his stupid face or the way he chomps his gum or really anything about him. I’m not sure why this is good, but our coach is just way better and that has to count for something. Also, Pete Carroll makes his players do yoga. I’m sorry, but no.
Colin Kaepernick. He had a phenomenal performance last week and proved (yet again) that he’s not just a running QB and that he can throw the ball. Well.
Which brings us to: Anquan Boldin. I mean. I was hopeful, but not in my wildest dreams did I expect a performance like that last week. Amazing. I can’t wait to see what he does on Sunday.
Seattle’s Missing Players. WR Percy Harvin, LB Bruce Irvin (sorry Bruce, PEDs are illegal in the NFL), and possibly CB Bradon Browner. Whatever. I’ll take it.
We’re the San Francisco 49ers. We’re good. We can totally do this. We just need to keep our heads straight, get first downs, not make silly mistakes, and not turnover the ball. And hit them really, really hard. Just for kicks.
The 12th Man. Listen, I don’t know or care if they pump extra crowd noise in through the speakers at Seattle. The fact is: it’s loud in that stadium and with some of the mistakes we made last week (bad snap counts, false starts etc.) we can’t afford to let the noise factor disrupt play. Get through the first quarter. Put points on the board. And shut them up.
Marshawn Lynch. Credit where credit is due. Lynch is a beast and he’s a hard guy to tackle. Of the last 84 games, the Niners have only allowed 9 100-yard rushes. Four of those belonged to Lynch. On top of that, the Niners had way more missed tackles last Sunday than I care to remember. I hope they get that in check because, if not, Lynch is going to be a problem.
Seattle’s Safeties. They’re good. Maybe one of the best duos in the NFL. Not excited about that one bit.
Our running game. Or should I say “What running game?” I think Gore and Hunter warmed up towards the end of last Sunday’s game, but it was pretty nonexistent and not much of a factor. It’s supposed to rain throughout the game on Sunday night, which means our run game is going to be key. Everyone needs to step up with blocks and making holes because without a run game this week, I think we’re screwed.
Russell Wilson. I mean, I really didn’t want to throw Seattle’s QB in there, but I’d probably get someone pointing it out if I didn't. Sure, he’s good. Fine. Whatever. Our defense just needs to handle him. (That includes you, secondary.)
This game matters. That’s silly to say, of course, because every game in the NFL matters, but this game REALLY matters. Both teams are 1-0. Whoever takes this game will also take the lead in the NFC West. Pressure.
The Rest of It
I am definitely nervous for this game. It’s a huge deal. It’s primetime. The 49ers have to win. Do I think we can pull it off? Of course. Do I think it’s going to be a constant battle? Definitely.
Note: As I mentioned before, it’s supposed to be raining at kickoff and throughout the game. Just how hard it will rain will, I suspect, ultimately determine the game plan, but the Niners have to run the ball. And they have to stop Lynch. I don’t expect to see Kap throwing it downfield like he did against Green Bay.
Also: I am sure you’ve all heard, but Kaepernick and Wilson made a bet about the game. Whomever loses has to shave off an eyebrow. Not a good look for anyone, but we know Kaepernick keeps his bets (unlike Aaron Rodgers), so let’s just hope he walks away from this one with all of his hair in place.
Seattle is pumped up for this game. I mean, they’re trying to break the Guiness World Record for loudest crowd roar. Which is stupid, but whatever. It’s a thing so I’m telling you about it.
My prediction? Last week I said we were going to lose this game, but screw that. We’ll win.
Watch San Francisco at SEATTLE on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT on NBC.