49ERS GAME AT A GLANCE
• Opponent: vs. Seattle
• Time: 1:25 p.m.
• Line: 49ers by 3
• Records: 49ers 8-4, Seahawks 11-1
• TV/radio: FOX40 (Joe Buck play-by-play, Troy Aikman color), 680, 1320
MATCHUP TO WATCH
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick vs. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas
Every opponent this season has dared Kaepernick to beat it through the air. The Seahawks will be more brazen than most by dropping strong safety Kam Chancellor deep into the box to the point where he will be like an extra linebacker. It will be up to Thomas, one of the top safeties in the league, to stop anything deep. This strategy, coupled with aggressive man-to-man coverage by the Seattle cornerbacks, has flummoxed Kaepernick in the last two meetings. Still, he has a better group of receivers than at any time in the past.
THREE KEYS TO GAME
• Kaepernick has to get off to a good start. That will require creative play calling and perhaps contributions from surprising sources. Second-round pick Vance McDonald has had a quiet rookie season. This would be a good time to make noise.
• Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, an MVP candidate, is solid in the pocket but even better out of it. The 49ers must pressure him without blitzing and, more than that, keep him hemmed in between the tackles.
• The 49ers’ coverage units were excellent last week, and kicker Phil Dawson hasn’t missed a field-goal attempt since September. The team, however, could use a boost from the return game, which took a step back last week.
• Questionable: WR Jon Baldwin (calf), CB Tarell Brown (ribs), G Mike Iupati (knee), WR Mario Manningham (knee), TE Vance McDonald (ankle), LB Dan Skuta (foot), T Joe Staley (knee)
• Probable: LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist), TE Garrett Celek (hamstring), RB Frank Gore (ankle), DT Ray McDonald (ankle), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
• Out: CB Brandon Browner (groin), WR Percy Harvin (hip)
• Questionable: QB Tarvaris Jackson (illness)
• Probable: S Kam Chancellor (hip), TE Kellen Davis (neck), DE Bruce Irvin (thigh), RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury-related), WR Golden Tate (hip)
– Matthew Barrows