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Before I begin, I'd like to start with a random thought. Back in the day, when Rick Mier was supposed to lead the Seahawks to slightly below mediocre the promised land, these two teams played each other in the pre-season.

Its the 4th quarter, Golden Boy is hungry. So is Cortez
Kennedy. So they hail down a hot dog vendor and split it. Dennis Erickson got mad, fined them each some extreme amount of money, and I think the Hawks won 3 games that year.

Isn't it great how much things have changed? And please tell me I'm not the only person who remembers this.

Anyways, this Sunday, its a game for real real, not for play play between the Niners and the Seahawks. Pictured is Lofa Tatupu, who carries the ball so often, he's practically Seattle's possession receiver. Why is he pictured? Because I think Seattle's defense is going to determine the outcome of this game.

The 49ers are currently ranked 31st in the NFL in total offense. I'm kind of
curious as to why no pub is given on this in the media. The Bears are ranked 30th and we get headlines that blare "REX TO BENCH". The Chargers have a rough three game start (against a brutal schedule) and the pundits cry, "Whats wrong with LT?"

Yet, when San Fransisco has a terrible start offensively, contradicting everything written about them since April and suddenly mum's the word? The amazing Frank
Gore and his 58.3ypg average? How about Alex Smith's 67.4 passer rating? I wasn't expecting eye popping numbers from these guys, but weren't we led to believe that this Niners squad would be decent on offense?

I don't throw these numbers out to make fun of San Francisco. (OK, maybe a little) but to demonstrate that this is an offense with talent that is being frustrated. Either that continues Sunday, or it continues.

Now, Vernon Davis has an MCL sprain, and his pass blocking abilities will be missed by Alex Smith. (So will that big target in the flat). Oh, and if I had a word of
advice for the Seahawks...attack from the left. Both LG Larry Allen and LT Jonas Jennings are banged up.

For the Seahawks, the emphasis has to be on getting Shaun Alexander going earlier. Yes Jerry Brewer, we know he's a game finisher. How about he finishes games off at halftime? If theS eahawks can move the ball well early and put up a big lead at half, then Seattle doesn't need Alexander to go off for 78 yards in the second half.

So, a few quick keys from my vantage point...

1) Use your veterans. This is a big early season, divisional game. Seattle's done this before. Take advantage of that to stay calm on the road.

2) Move the ball consistently at the start. It'll take the crowd out of it, and set people up for big days.

3) Pressure Alex Smith. The Niners have done a decent job of protecting him, but try to force some bad throws.

San Francisco:
1) Keep the Seattle offense off the field. Yes, its a fundamental of football, but given the two corners on the injury report this week...does S.F. really want to get in a track meet?

2) Force a turnover. S.F. is +2 in turnover differential...Seattle is +3.

3) Give Frank Gore the ball. He did his thing last year against Seattle, after all.

Should be a fun one in week 4.


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