Key Players and Matchups
The 49ers offensive line vs. the Seahawks front seven
The 49ers need to make some changes to their offensive line. In early July, I wrote that after spending two years at the bottom of the league’s offensive line rankings, the 49ers’ OL was likely to improve in 2017:
"The San Francisco 49ers’ offensive line play has certainly been poor the past two years, due to a general lack of talent, as well as injuries to key starters. Bland play calling and a lack of a deep passing game are additional factors; the 49ers’ offense was often faced with stacked boxes and heavy blitzes from aggressive defenses. Offensive line statistics were also affected by improvisational quarterback play that generated unnecessary sacks. The San Francisco 49ers’ offensive line should be better in 2017; adding another above-average starter in Zuttah should have a positive effect on the entire line. If the 49ers can solidify one of their guard positions, it will allow them to continue to develop the youngsters Brown and Garnett. – Chris Wilson"
At the end of the preseason, the 49ers traded for Detroit Lions guard Laken Tomlinson. Look for Tomlinson — who has had two weeks to learn the Niners’ system — to either start for Zane Beadles this week, or replace him sometime during the game.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson
When the 49ers play the Seahawks, Wilson is always the wildcard. With a career quarterback rating just under 100, Wilson’s 69.7 Week 1 quarterback rating was an statistical anomaly he will likely improve upon in Week 2, unless he’s equally pressured by the 49ers’ defense.
If the Niners decide to blitz Wilson — especially while in man coverage — they will need to be disciplined in their pass rush and not allow Wilson open lanes for potential long runs.
49ers EDGE Aaron Lynch
49ers defensive end Aaron Lynch was a surprising healthy Week 1 scratch after an impressive preseason, and a decision that severely limited the 49ers’ pass rush.
While Seattle head coach Pete Carroll hopes Lynch will sit this Sunday, expect Shanahan to realize his Week 1 mistake, and unleash Lynch on Wilson and the Seahawks’ offensive line.