The best divisional rivalry right now in the NFL? The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, who just might be the best two teams in the conference and possibly the league. With plenty of bad blood emerging between the two teams, there’s a lot more to this than just Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson making foolish bets.
No one is going to shave his eyebrow. Wilson already mentioned it was only a joke. He plans on keeping his facial hair, and so does Kaepernick. But there’s a good chance it’ll get ugly at some point. The 49ers have a head coach that makes these things personal. The Seahawks’ head coach talks a bit less during, before and after games, but he has the personnel, especially on defense, that loves talking big before these games.
Who had the better performance week 1? Colin Kaepernick was fantastic, even without running, throwing for 412 yards and three touchdowns in the big win over the Green Bay Packers. Russell Wilson didn’t have a running game to help him (only 70 yards) against the Panthers, but was sharp enough throughout their Carolina visit to throw the winning touchdown on a very efficient performance, completing 75.8% of his passes for 320 yards and a touchdown.
The Seahawks need their running game going again. The 49ers didn’t face the best of rushing teams last week, but constantly pounding with Eddie Lacy did open up some holes up the middle for the Packers, so Wilson needs Marshawn Lynch, who got only 43 yards on 17 carries vs the Panthers, to be his old self. Last season, in the 42-13 win, Lynch had a big day with 111 yards and a couple of touchdowns (one reception).
Frank Gore was also kind of limited against the Packers, who really focused on stopping the run. He had only 44 yards on 21 carries, and throwing against the Seahawks with their ultra-aggressive bunch of defensive backs is going to be very difficult for Kaepernick to do all day long.
Anquan Boldin emerged as an even better signing than initially thought with his 13-reception, 206 yards, one touchdown performance. Browner might be back from his hamstring injury, and the Seahawks need every bit of size they can put on Boldin and Vernon Davis in order to make the 49ers feel uncomfortable.
Maybe the biggest potential return will be that of Cliff Avril, who didn’t play in week 1. One of the reasons the Seahawks went out and got all those defensive ends in free agency was to better deal with the read option and Kaepernick. With Avril on the field (healthy, hopefully), they might be more than a match for the 49ers’ offense.