Game Preview: 49ers at Seahawks

The Seahawks are home for the first time this regular season and open their home schedule against division rival San Francisco at Qwest Field.

What: First home regular season game
When: Sunday, September 26th, 1 pm (PST)
Where: Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington


49ers Key Players:

RB Kevan Barlow: With the 49ers line starting the gel Barlow is primed to have a bust-out season. So far this season he has rushed for 190 yards and a 4.9 yard average per attempt. His two touchdowns also came last week against the New Orleans Saints in a losing effort but look for the Niners to place a big emphasis on the running game. Barlow is a tough inside runner who has the speed and moves to be dangerous in the open field. Barlow is a threat in the passing game and with a young QB at the helm he will see his share of swing passes.

LB Julian Peterson: Peterson ended a long holdout three games into the preseason and has picked up the Niners' new 3-4 defensive scheme well. He is a playmaker who has the speed to blitz, cover backs out of the backfield and make plays all over the field. He is second on the team with 13 tackles and leads the team with three sacks. He is the leader of the defense and makes all of the adjustments on the field.

CB Ahmed Plummer: Plummer is the cover corner who coaches count on the lock-down one side of the field. Plummer finished 2003 with 16 passes defensed and four interceptions and he has started off 2004 with a flourish registering five passes defensed already. Plummer matches up with the opposition's best wideout and mirrors him all over the field. He is a key player in the 49ers defensive scheme and blitz package.

S Tony Parrish: With a poor pass-rush the Niners' reliance on their deep-patrol to make plays takes on even more significance. Parrish is the ball-hawk and big-hitter San Francsico needs in the deep-third and he plays with abandon. Last season Parrish finished tied for the league lead in interceptions with nine and his sure tackling allows coaches to blitz linebackers while edging Parrish up into the box.


Key Matchups:

Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck vs. 49ers Safeties Ronnie Heard and Parrish: Hasselbeck never got in a rhythm last week versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it is imperative he not turn the ball over. Parrish is a ball-hawk and Heard, in his first year as a starter, has played adequately. Hasselbeck must use his eyes to draw the safeties out of position and if he can do that then the Hawks could have some big plays.

Seahawks Offensive line and backs vs. the 49ers blitz-package: After viewing what Tampa was able to do against the usually potent Seahawks offense teams will blitz the Hawks mercilessly until they prove they can beat it. Head coach Mike Holmgren said he didn't do enough to help out his offense with protections, so look for him to make adjustments as the game proceeds.

Barlow and FB Fred Beasley vs. Seahawks linebackers: Beasley is a beast at 246 lbs and he made the Pro Bowl in 2003 for his blocking ability. Barlow hits the hole hard and he is thick so he is able to keep his legs churning when defenders don't wrap up. Seahawks linebackers Isaiah Kacyvenski, Orlando Huff and Anthony Simmons must stop this duo and make Niners QB Ken Dorsey beat them…this is the biggest matchup of the day.

Seahawks vs. themselves: The Seahawks are flying high after two big road wins and are coming home where they were 8-0 in 2003 for the first time in team history. A letdown against a struggling 49ers squad would really take away a lot of the steam this team has mustered with their hot start. Holmgren and his assistants have emphasized a sense of urgency all week and the need to get off to a quick start against a sub-par opponent.


News and Notes: Niners coach Dennis Erickson coached the Seahawks from 1995-98, going 31-33, before being replaced by Holmgren; The 49ers have lost two games by a total of five points; The Seahawks have won the last two games between the teams, but the 49ers hold a 6-4 series edge; San Francisco will travel the most miles (35,576) in the NFL this season. Seattle (29,956) comes in second; The 49ers have scored in 420 consecutive games, the most in NFL history.



49ers: QUESTIONABLE: QB Tim Rattay (right shoulder); CB Mike Rumph (groin); WR Cedrick Wilson (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: DE Andre Carter (back); T Kwame Harris (knee/ankle)
OUT: C Jeremy Newberry (knee); DE Andrew Williams (shin - lower leg fracture)

Seattle: PROBABLE: TE Jerramy Stevens (knee)
OUT: LB Chad Brown (fibula)


Prediction: Seattle 29 – 49ers 17

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at Top Stories