Another big division match-up is upon us Nation. This week the Seahawks come to the 'Stick, and we plan to stick it to them (get it???). First of all business... Congrats to howtheyscored for winning the CaptionThis contest with the gem above. Amusing, and true; Frank Gore oozes awesomeness. Also, for the Niners Nation 3 fantasy league, yours truly and my team, The Ed Hochuli Gun Show, is in first place in Division 1, while Shulkdog's landsharks leads division two, after dominating victories by each team. 49erLou is in deaaaaad last, only scoring 55 points. Ouch...
OK now time to focus. One bird down, one to go. This is a very exciting match up that I pray plays out the way we are all hoping. Now, I'm a bit disappointed in the lack of trash talking between Field Gulls and NN - wayy too much dwelling on the Rams victory for FG, and a bit too much focus on Crabtree for NN. We have an amazing matchup here people!! Just look below at these amazing match-ups and players to Focus On:
Key Match-up: 49ers O-Line vs Seahawks D-Line
Last week we witnessed the 49ers struggle to get a real running game started with Frank Gore. Glen Coffee was thrown in there to mix it up once or twice, but a lack-of-run-O was not from a fault in the RB's, it was the O-Line not doing their job. Chilo Rachal and Adam Snyder looked lost at time, especially once the AZ DE's got past them and to Gore. Joe Staley and David Bass weren't impressive either, and it will take a dramatic improvement from all four to get this "Run-First"/"Gore-centric"/60-40 running-passing style team to a victory.
Their challenge will not be simple as they will be going face to face with the Seattle D-Line, including good strength and talent from Patrick Kerny, and Cory Redding from the DE positions. It also won't just be their front four - expect to see Lofa Tatupu and their first-round pick Aaron Curry attempting to cause chaos on one side of the line so that someone slips-through unnoticed, a common event in last weeks Niners game.
In the end, I'm confident in the ability the Niners have on their O-Line, and feel like they SHOULD be able to slow down the Seattle D enough to let Frank the Tank do his magic work. However, the Niners never stop surprising me (for better or worse) and we could be walking into a sack-lunch (num-num-num-num). Unlikely as I see it, but possible given the Seattle talent.
After the jump: Player to Watch, Player to Loath, Fantasy Superstar/Sleeper, and some more SF/Seattle Prep..
Player to watch: Vernon Davis
This is an easy one for this game. The last time VD played Seattle in SF he was kicked off the field by Coach Singletary in the 3rd quarter. If I were VD, I would be out for blood - I would want to prove that no-one puts baby in the corner and gets away with it. If he truly is the "NEW AND IMPROVED" VD, then he should be Shaun Hill's #1 passing option in this game. Short dump off passes over the middle, allowing VD to lay into some Seattle LBs, put a hurting on their D, or just simply run away from them all. If VD wants to show that those Under Armour commercials meant something, today is his best opportunity to step out of the shadow that is un-sportsmanship (is that a word?) and step out as one of the 49ers captains and leaders on the field.
Player to loathe: Matt Hasselbeck
This is another unreasonable personal bias that I have about a division QB (you're next Bulger...). I've always seen Hasselbeck as a decent QB, but an exceptional game-manager at best. When Seattle went to the Super Bowl, it was Shaun Alexander, not Hasselbeck, that was the bedrock of the offense. And yet we get to see the Seattle QB in countless, awful commercials that just make me feel sick. Chunky Soup - Matt Hasselbeck is not tough. EAS Myoplex, that "Now I'm Done" line is the most douch-chilling line in all of sports commercials, and Hasselbeck sounds like he's going to be late for his Pokemon-card battle in the commercial. I will never, ever use Expedia because of the two worst commercials ever made, here and here. Oh, and his brother is AWFUL on ESPN (Unrelated? Yes. Untrue? Hell no). Now, I'm not saying I want to see Matt Hasselbeck injured, but IF Patrick Willis were to break his jaw, I wouldn't be disappointed in the lack of new Hasselbeck commercials.
This week is tough. I'm unsure about how the Niners front O-line will play, so I'm hesitant to chose Gore. While Issac Bruce had a huge 50-yard catch, its hard to pick with any certainty which WR (if any) will be the main target this week. On the Seattle side of the ball, Hasselbeck can sling it around, but a not over-talented WR corps, with an aging Deon Branch, an over-hyped "Slippery" Nate Burleson and a "I'm an amazing #2, and a halfway-decent #1" T.J Houshamazilly, may hold Hasselbeck back. That being said, I'll have to go with the player who has the best potential of making that one-play, 12 point play that wins a week for you, so T.J.Houshmandzadeh, the honor is yours.
I'm going to go with the Niners D. Seattle did drop a 28-spot on the Rams last week, but our D held the much-vaunted AZ Offense to just 16 points! It seems like Sing has got this group firing on all cylinder, and if they can get in Hasselbeck's face they can squeeze out a few sacks, or even turn-overs out of the "Pro-Bowl QB". Would I start them this week? It would depend on the other D's on your roster/on waiver wire, but unless you have a Pittsburgh/Philadelphia/Baltimore/Tennessee/NYG/Minnesota on your team, you should feel ok starting the Niners D.
And to top it all off, some random Seattle/SF facts:
- The Niners and Cardinals have only met 20 times in their history (since Seattle was in the AFC West until the NFL re-aligned their teams in 2002 with the addition of the Houston Texans. Seattle holds a 11-9 lead in the all-time series.
- The Niners have never shut-out the Seahawks. Seattle has done it twice (the last one being in 2007).
- Remember when Jim Mora Jr. was our D Coordinator? The man is now the HC in Seattle, taking over for Mike Holmgren. I've always liked him, but now I have to hate him. Sorry Jim. But don't worry, you still had a hand in creating the greatest after-game post conference in NFL history in 2001, at the expense of the 40-21 beat down you helped apply to your Dad and the Indianapolis Colts.
- The Niners have won five of their past six games. Four of those wins are wins earned after we were eliminated from playoff contention last year, but still, I like seeing trends.
Looking a bit ahead...
Don't get injured guys, next week vs. Minnesota is a HUGE game where we may test how good this team is outside the NFC West. But first thing's first - get to 2-0!