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Five 49ers to watch against the Seahawks in Week 13

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Five players to watch when the 49ers face off against the Seahawks on the road in Seattle.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers travel North on Sunday to face their old division rival. Kyle Shanahan and Co. enter the always challenging Century Link Field against a surging Seattle Seahawks fighting to remain in playoff contention. The 49ers are looking for some form of redemption after an embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.

Here are five players to watch when the 49ers battle the Seahawks on Sunday:

CB Richard Sherman

The outspoken veteran cornerback returns to his former team and home field on Sunday. Richard Sherman spoke with the media Thursday and there was clearly no love lost between himself and the Seahawks, who released Sherman in the offseason after a torn achilles during the 2017 season.

“You just expect after you’ve done so much for a franchise that they wouldn’t cut you while you’re hurt,” Sherman said. “It’s kind of more of a respect thing than anything, but they did, so you have got to kind of roll with the business.”

Sherman returns to Seattle without an interception to his name in 2018. He’s never gone a season in his career without picking off an opposing quarterback. Sherman now has his sights set on his former quarterback, Russell Wilson.

“Yeah, I’ve also seen him throw five picks in the game, so you see what he’s capable of on both sides of it,” Sherman said when asked about Wilson’s dynamic play. “You understand that he can be defended, so you go out there and give it your best shot.”

WR Dante Pettis

Pettis had his best game with the 49ers in Week 12 against the Buccaneers. The rookie wideout led all receivers with seven targets, reeling in four passes for 77 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown after shaking cornerback Carlton Davis for the score. The former Washington wideout will look to build on the open momentum against a formidable Seahawks defense. With Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin’s status in the air, Pettis should garner a wealth of targets from quarterback Nick Mullens.

DL DeForest Buckner

The 49ers’ defensive front runs through Buckner. Coordinator Robert Saleh’s gameplan will likely include a concerted effort to stifle Seattle’s running attack and force Wilson to beat the 49ers defense through the air. Buckner will be crucial to both efforts, whether holding the line or breaking through to create interior pressure. The 49ers’ budding star achieved his seventh sack of the season in Week 12, a career high for Buckner. He’ll look to take another step or two closer to double digits against Wilson on Sunday.

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.

Wilson was promoted from the 49ers’ practice squad to the active roster on Saturday before the team’s Week 12 matchup with the Buccaneers. Shanahan credited Wilson with a great week of practice after the 49ers’ Week 11 bye, earning him the role of Matt Breida’s primary backup on Sunday. Wilson capitalized, carrying the ball seven times for 33 yards and one catch for eight yards. He also scored a would-be touchdown that was ruled (questionably) to have been down just before the ball crossed the goal line. Wilson’s efforts against the Seahawks will be one to watch.

LB Fred Warner

The 49ers are leaning on Warner more than ever after Foster’s exit. The 49ers’ “Mike” linebacker, in charge of calling the plays for Saleh, is putting together a strong rookie season amid a struggling defense. Warner led the team with seven total tackles Sunday against the Buccaneers while adding another pass breakup, his sixth of the season. A strong game from Warner will be critical in limiting both phases of the Seahawks’ offense.