The San Francisco 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks this weekend in what is the biggest game on the schedule for Week 2, and one of the biggest on the 49ers schedule this season. The teams have developed into healthy rivals, and from a playoffs standpoint, these are the games that can tell us a lot about the teams.
There has been plenty of talk about how big this game is, and what it all means in the big picture. Naturally, Jim Harbaugh is not one to talk about that. He focuses on his mantra that the next game is always the most important game. Some of the players might call BS on him (and Carroll) about that, as Earl Thomas told Bay Area media.
In the the broader picture, stressing the importance of "the next game" is valuable. When the season ends and the playoff field is determined, a win over the Jaguars would count just as much as a win over the Seahawks.
Of course, beating the Seahawks would give the 49ers a boost in the divisional record. There is a certain value that we can attach to a win over Seattle, particularly in Seattle. While each win has the same value in the overall win-loss record, winning up in Seattle gives the 49ers a pretty impressive early edge on the Seahawks. That being said, if they do not follow that up with more wins, it really doesn't matter.
I agree with Jim Harbaugh about the importance of "the next game", but I think we'll all agree a win in Seattle would hold a little something extra for the 49ers, and mean a little more to the players. Eric Reid met with the media on Wednesday, and he had an interesting, albeit not surprising comment:
Eric Reid on playing Seattle: "The guys tell me it's like a playoff game." #49ers— Scott Kegley (@ScottKegley) September 11, 2013
The 49ers players are generally a little more willing to discuss the boosted nature of 49ers-Seahawks games. Some will go into the rivalry a little bit, but they usually keep things pretty low key and respectful. But they definitely go further than Jim Harbaugh in talking about the Seahawks.
The Seahawks recognize the importance of the game as well. Pete Carroll told the beat writers that they try and maintain some discipline week-to-week. However, he acknowledged that it is the Seahawks home opener and the fans will be fired up.
This all adds a few layers of context to what has become a fun matchup in the Harbaugh/Carroll era. I'm sure NBC will provide us with a shot of Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll meeting on the field before the game. There will be some comments about their relationship. There will be plenty of drama to be built!