49ERS-SEAHAWKS » keys to the game
Here are six matchups to watch when the 49ers (10-3-1) face the Seahawks (9-5) in Seattle:
Seahawks secondary vs. 49ers WR Michael Crabtree: Crabtree is on a tear with 23 catches in the past three games. Can the Seahawks handle him without the suspended Brandon Browner and possibly Richard Sherman, who reportedly had an appeal hearing on his suspension for performance-enhancing drug use?
49ers RB Frank Gore vs. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner: Gore is looking for his first 100-yard effort since Oct. 18 against Seattle, and he will oppose one of the league's top rookie linebackers in Wagner, who has made 121 tackles. The Seahawks, though, are short on healthy defensive tackles.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. 49ers ILBs Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman: Lynch is the league's second-leading rusher with 1,379 yards, but the former Cal star will encounter a linebacker tandem that has combined for 315 tackles.
49ers OLB Aldon Smith vs. Seahawks LT Russell Okung: Smith needs three more sacks to match the season record of 221/2. Can he get there without being escorted by 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith, who's availability is threatened by an elbow injury?
Seahawks' "12th Man" crowd vs. 49ers offensive line: Tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis call CenturyLink Field the loudest stadium in the league. "I'm amazed that it's possible
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson vs. 49ers FS Dashon Goldson: The Seahawks' rookie quarterback has 11 touchdown passes and one interception while leading his team to five wins in its past six games.
-- CAM INMAN