The Hawks and the media seem to have a pretty good feel for this game. Nobody is expecting to walk into SF and come out with an easy victory. Mike Singletary has his team playing hard and physical and we will learn a lot about the Hawks in this environment, against this team.
The Hawks have a brutal road schedule. This is one of only two games (@Rams being the other) where you could say winning is not a long shot. This game likely will determine whether the Hawks will need to go 8-0 or 7-1 at home to have a realistic chance at 10 or more wins. Losing does not end the season, but winning gives us a little early breathing room.
WHAT TO WATCH
The 49ers come into this game with the perceived edge in toughness. They have a nearly insane coach who has been going gladiator with his team since Day 1 of training camp. They went into the defending NFC Champs house on opening day and beat them down. They run into a wall and keep running. The Seahawks want to shed their finesse label and be perceived as a beat down sort of team. This is step one toward earning that reputation. Go into a tough teams house and set the tone. I am perhaps least confident about this aspect of the game. Nothing would get me more pumped than to see the Seahawks be the aggressors.
If the game is truly a “snot bubble” affair, it won’t be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be handled professionally. Matt has thrown some really questionable balls against Denver, KC and now STL. We need him to manage the game well, the o-line to protect and the running backs to secure the ball. This part of the game will be measured by turnovers and third down conversions.
This includes the D-line as well because if they are doing their jobs, the LBs should be able to do theirs. We need Aaron Curry to play a great, physical game and for Lofa to be near double-digit tackles. Someone will need to run with Vernon Davis, too.
Don’t forget that Leonard Weaver beat the 49ers with two long TD catches last season in SF. Justin Forsett could have a breakout game today if the screen passes are open.
After planning for John Carlson, Houshmandzadeh, Burleson, and Jones, it’s unlikely Butler will even get a mention in the 49ers prep. It could be a single play where Butler streaks across the field and away from defenders, or it could be a repeated beating, but I think Butler could be our secret weapon this week.
He was great last week. Can he do it again?