|49ers RB Frank Gore needs to be more involved and QB Alex Smith needs to shake of Sunday's poor performance against the Giants. (US Presswire)|
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco (grass, outdoors)
When: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
Spread: 49ers by 7
Forecast: High-70s projected at kickoff, down to mid-60s after sunset.
Records: Seahawks (Overall: 4-2, NFC West: 0-2); 49ers (Overall: 4-2, NFC West: 0-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Dec. 24, 2011: 49ers 19, Seahawks 17; Sept. 11, 2011: 49ers 33, Seahawks 17. Series record: Series tied 13-13.
What matters: The division. For San Francisco, Thursday's game is the first against an NFC West opponent this year and kicks off a streak of three straight in the division. With Arizona, Seattle and the 49ers grouped at 4-2 and St. Louis a game back, the importance of every game in the division is magnified. With a short week to prepare, it falls on the coaching staffs to get their teams prepared more efficiently. If history is an indicator of where the advantage is, then San Francisco has the edge -- coach Jim Harbaugh is 4-1 as a head coach against Pete Carroll dating back to 2007.
Who matters: RB Frank Gore. In San Francisco's two losses, the team didn't establish the run early and failed to execute late after falling behind and being forced to throw. For the 49ers to operate most effectively, they need balance, and Gore is the key. In the losses, he's averaged 10 carries for 45.5 yards. In the four wins, he's averaged 16.8 carries and 92.8 yards.
Key matchups: Seahawks run defense vs. 49ers run offense. San Francisco ranks No. 1 in the NFL in rushing yards per game (176.8), and Seattle's run defense ranks No. 2 (70.0). It's been proven that San Francisco needs the running game to jump-start its offense, but that task will be tough facing the Seahawks' stout run defense. This isn't one of those games where Gore and Kendall Hunter should expect to gash Seattle for seven or eight yards a pop early. It's more likely that a steady dose of both will be needed to wear down Seattle for a potentially close game late.
Injuries of note: LT Joe Staley is questionable after suffering a concussion Sunday against the Giants. WR Mario Manningham (shoulder) is questionable, and RB Brandon Jacobs is expected to be a healthy scratch despite being listed as questionable on the injury report. K David Akers (illness), LB Tavares Gooden (elbow), P Andy Lee (hand) and QB Alex Smith (right finger) were all listed as probable. For Seattle, G John Moffitt (knee) has been ruled out, and CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring) is officially listed as doubtful.
Inside stuff: Harbaugh and Carroll have been on opposing sidelines in various capacities 17 times since 1987. In those games, Harbaugh's teams hold a 10-7 edge.
Connections: Seattle WR Doug Baldwin, CB Richard Sherman and TE Evan Moore all played for Harbaugh at Stanford. 49ers RB Kendall Hunter (2007-09) and CB Perrish Cox were teammates with Seahawks T Russell Okung at Oklahoma State from 2006 to 2009. 49ers WR Kyle Williams and Seahawks TE Zach Miller were teammates at Arizona State in 2006.
Stat you should know: The 49ers' offense ranks No. 4 in the NFL in yards per play (6.24), trailing only Washington, the Giants and Baltimore.
Record watch: Gore set a franchise single-game rushing record of 212 yards against Seattle on Nov. 19, 2006.
Looking ahead: The 49ers will travel to Arizona for a Monday Night showdown with Arizona on Oct. 29, which will be followed by the team's bye week. A home date with St. Louis comes after the bye.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Seahawks 16