SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers and Seahawks don't seem to like each other. Could it be because they are so similar?

"We're trying to play as tough as we can play every time we come out," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on a conference call Wednesday. "I think they kind of think the same way. I think you're going to get a matchup of a pretty good approach from both sides."

Both coaches are downplaying Sunday night's matchup in Seattle and personal rivalry that dates to their days at Stanford and USC.

Asked about having two of Harbaugh's former Stanford players (wide receiver Doug Baldwin and cornerback Richard Sherman), Carroll retorted that he also had two Cal players, running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.

"The Bay Area is represented here somewhat evenly," he said.

In terms of placing extra importance on this game, the coaches nearly echoed each other.

"We try to treat every game like it's the biggest one in the world," Carroll said.

Said Harbaugh: "Your next game is the most important game of the season."

As for the physical nature of recent 49ers-Seahawks matchups, Carroll again pointed to the teams' similarities.

"I think it's part of the division we're in, it's part of the style," Carroll said. "It's really just the makeup of the programs. We're very similar in the way we like to go after it on defense, the running game and special teams and so you see two like philosophies go at it."


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Does that mean the short-spoken, but intense Harbaugh and the outspoken, energetic Carroll are similar?

"What do you think?," Carroll said when asked. "You guys can figure that one out."

Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.