SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With all that's surrounding the 49ers rivalry between with the Seahawks, including some harsh words courtesy of cornerback Richard Sherman following Seattle's win in January's conference title game, Colin Kaepernick isn't getting baited into a destructive discussion leading into Thursday night.
Asked about his thoughts on Sherman Monday, Kaepernick was succinct.
"I don’t have any. I’m worried about what we’re doing,” San Francisco's QB said.
There won't likely be much stoking the flames leading into Thursday night's game. The 49ers appear content to stick to their "one-game playoff" mantra that's been echoed during their recent three-game winning streak. Sherman will not be made available to the Bay Area media via conference call this week.
"Now we’re going to be in a stretch of playing more of those type of teams that you project to be in the playoffs. Excited about that," head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "If we’re good enough to be in it then we’ll know. We’ll know soon enough. So, that gets the motivation up, gets the energy up, gets the awareness going. Playoff-type of games against playoff-type of opponents. It’s as good as it gets. Let’s go."
Both the 49ers and the Seahawks sit at 7-4, while Seattle holds the second wild card in a crowded NFC. With the Arizona Cardinals' loss to the Seahawks Sunday, both teams are two games back of the division leader with five games remaining, adding to the heat of Thursday's tilt.
"I feel like every week is a rivalry game with this quad, listening around the locker room," receiver Stevie Johnson said. "Whoever we go up against feels like a rivalry."
Safety Antoine Bethea, who is playing his first game against Seattle as a member of San Francisco, didn't have as heated a rivalry as this during his time with the Colts.
Bethea went 3-4 against the Patriots in his eight seasons with the Colts, including two playoff games they split. San Francisco has split with Seattle in the last two regular seasons. But the NFC Championship Game still gives the Seahawks the edge in the rivalry leading into this week.
Did those Patriots weeks have some extra juice to them?
"It’s just like anything else. When somebody’s beating you and continues to beat you, or it’s a close game and don’t edge it out, of course," Bethea said.
But being that it's only Monday and the 49ers are on a short week, there's little incentive to get fired up about Thursday, yet.
"It’s just even keel. Not too much hoopla or anything like that. It’s just like business as usual. I think that’s good," Bethea said. "I don’t think, especially being a Monday, I don’t think we should be all riled up. But when it’s time to kick off I think all the guys will be ready."
Familiarity won't be an issue. The 49ers coaching staff spent time during the bye week and even the night following Sunday's win preparing for the Seahawks. Considering the short week, it seems beneficial San Francisco is playing a team it knows plenty about.
Or, maybe not.
"I would never associate easy, preparing for the Seahawks as being easy," Harbaugh said. "I would never associate that. They’ve been more multiple in their scheme this year than in the past. But, no I wouldn’t associate easy with the Seahawk defense."