For a couple of years this was the best rivalry in the NFL. Now? The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks still hate each other, that isn’t going to change. But there’s a lot less at stake, with hardly anyone talking trash, unlike previous years and encounters.
The absence of Jim Harbaugh; the sudden decline of the Seahawks, and specifically the brash and talkative Legion of Boom with Richard Sherman as its spokesperson; and even the dying comparison between Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick because they’re not so special anymore and even if they are, we’re not seeing it on the win column, add to this matchup being far less interesting than how it was during 2012, 2013 and the first encounter of 2014.
This season both teams are 2-4 heading into their Thursday Night game in Santa Clara, where the 49ers are 2-1 this season, including a 25-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens in week 6. The Seahawks have lost two in a row with three losses in three away games this season. We’ve already mentioned their problems in closing out games, losing four fourth quarter leads this season and averaging just 4.5 points in the final quarter this season.
Sherman has no Michael Crabtree to pick on and overall, getting torched by Cam Newton and Greg Olsen on Sunday and Andy Dalton a week before should shut him up, or at least get him to talk less. We’re not getting any confident, arrogant statements from Kaepernick as well. There’s no Harbaugh to fire things up just by running a highlight film of the faces he makes on the sidelines. Jim Tomsula isn’t charismatic. He isn’t even interesting in terms of trying to figure out what and who he hates.
Pete Carroll usually stays away from making waves through the headlines, but he seems to be busy figuring out what’s happened to his offense. The running game is still crunching out numbers, but the offensive line can’t pick up a blitz and has allowed more sacks than anyone so far this season. The 49ers are tied for 24th in the league with just nine sacks so far this season, so maybe this time he finally doesn’t have anything to worry about.
The Seahawks have won five of the last six meetings including the NFC championship game of the 2013 season. Last season at Levi’s Stadium it was a humiliating 19-3 victory, followed by winning 17-7 at home. The Seahawks are probably not going to look as dominant once again, although the defense they’re facing is a completely different one compared to the 49ers of the past. The two teams hate each other just as much as before. We’re going to see it on the field. Only they don’t have the ability and quality to back it up like we saw in recent years.