Thursday night’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks features plenty of intriguing storylines. San Francisco’s first divisional game of 2012 is also one with first-place implications. The matchup of 4-2 teams in a three-way tie for first-place in the NFC West also figures to be a clash of two of the best defenses in the NFL.
A cause of concern for the 49ers, however, is the health of Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, who is questionable to return to game action after suffering a concussion against the New York Giants.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looked at the injury reports of both teams and addressed the potential matchups for Staley’s replacement.
“His status likely won’t be known until 90 minutes before kickoff when teams submit their inactive lists. Whether (Staley) plays or not, left tackle will be a focal point tonight,” Barrows wrote. “Seahawks speed rusher Chris Clemons (team-leading seven sacks) will line up opposite the left tackle and the Seahawks also will place rookie Bruce Irvin, whom the 49ers were eying before the draft, on that side of the line at times.”
Another challenge for the 49ers will be limiting the production of Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about San Francisco challenge of stopping Lynch, a runner who’s enjoyed success against the 49ers.
“San Francisco’s 19-17 win at Seattle last year, Lynch (107 yards) broke the 49ers’ string of 36 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher and accounted for a season-high eight missed tackles,” Branch wrot.e “(Vic) Fangio ranked Lynch ahead of Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and Baltimore’s Ray Rice, other elite backs the 49ers faced in 2011.”
The all-times series in knotted at 13 games apiece between the two franchises. San Francisco has also never lost at home on a Thursday night (2-0). Tonight’s 5:20 p.m. PT kick-off from Candlestick Park can be seen on NFL Network or KGO TV, or heard on the radio on KGO 810 and 107.7 The Bone. All the pre-game information for die-hard 49ers Faithful can be read in this Goal Posts blog entry.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News provides Jim Harbaugh’s comments from a recent episode of Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
Inman also looked at how the 49ers matchup against Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
ESPN.com’s Mike Sando shares his final pre-travel thoughts on the 49ers-Seahawks matchup.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com rated the Willis-Lynch matchup No. 3 on his key matchups series.
49ers.com looked at Frank Gore’s readiness for Seattle, interviewed Kyle Williams for the latest Niner Talk podcast, examined the defense’s success against the deep ball and shared photos and details of Alumni Weekend, including its first-ever bocce ball tournament.
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Tags: Chris Culliver, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, Jesse Sapolu, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Staley, Kyle Williams, Patrick Willis
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