49ers vs. Seahawks: Anquan Boldin, Richard Sherman and the slot

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers and Seahawks square off Sunday, and one of the most notable matchups to watch will be Anquan Boldin vs. Richard Sherman. However, is it possible we won't see as much of that matchup as one might think? New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

As the 49ers prepare for the Seahawks, some of the talk this week has been about Anquan Boldin. The 49ers wide receiver put together a monster performance last week against the Green Bay Packers, catching 13 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers head up to Seattle, and logic dictates that Richard Sherman would end up covering Boldin much of the day. Not so fast, my friends.

Late last night, Eric Branch wrote something up that took a look at some interesting numbers as they relate to Boldin and Sherman. Branch broke down some Pro Football Focus numbers that show us Boldin holds a distinct level of comfort playing as a slot receiver, while Richard Sherman rarely finds himself covering the slot.

As Branch pointed out in his article, Sherman has had some solid success against Boldin in their previous 2011 matchup. Boldin will likely find himself matching up with Sherman at some point, but how much will we see Boldin move around the field on Sunday? Branch's PFF breakdown of last Sunday indicated he saw quite a bit of work all over the field. It only makes sense that we would see more of it this weekend.

Of course, when Sherman does get his chances against Boldin, that leaves the door open for another receiver to try and take advantage of the off-setting matchup. Kyle Williams saw six targets his way last Sunday. He and Kap were not able to get on the same page entirely, but I'm sure we'll see them try and connect on Sunday. Additionally, Quinton Patton rarely saw the field, and you have to think at some point the 49ers will try and unleash him a bit more.

The big story will be about Boldin vs. Sherman, but Sunday's contest will provide a whole host of WR-CB matchups to track. It should be fascinating to watch!

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