|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Early test for Seahawks, Niners

  • SEATTLE — As much as they despise each other in growing the most heated rivalry in the NFL right now, the Seahawks and 49ers remain almost mirror images.
    • email print
  • SEATTLE — As much as they despise each other in growing the most heated rivalry in the NFL right now, the Seahawks and 49ers remain almost mirror images.
    Their quarterbacks are plastered all over magazine covers, their defenses are elite, and their coaches are viewed as annoying by those outside their fan base. Even as their teams have evolved and personnel changed, the principles at the foundation of both franchises remain starkly the same.
    "It's very similar scheme-wise and very similar in the way they put the teams together and the types of players," Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said. "They just want hard-nosed, tough players that are going to fight every day."
    Week 2 may seem too early for this much hype and anticipation, but the Seahawks and 49ers understand the importance of tonight's NFC West showdown. The winner gets a leg up in both the divisional and the conference race.
    Toss in the nasty history between coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh's, the constant comparisons between quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, and the debate about which team has the more fearsome defense and it's no surprise a West Coast rivalry is getting so much national attention.
    The 49ers have a bad taste from last December. Seattle scored on its second offensive play, got a 90-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown from Richard Sherman and routed the Niners 42-13.
    Denver at N.Y. Giants
    Peyton Manning has a 2-0 edge in NFL matchups with brother Eli, the New York Giants QB, both from when Peyton was a Colt. Eli has two Super Bowl rings; Peyton, now with Denver, has one.
    Denver already savored quite a win this season, in the kickoff game at home over defending NFL champion Baltimore. Peyton threw for seven touchdowns to tie an NFL record.
    New York was far less successful in its opener, falling at Dallas, with Eli picked off three times and the Giants losing three fumbles.
    Washington (0-1)at Green Bay (0-1)
    The Packers looked good offensively in a difficult matchup with San Francisco's staunch defense, but were a sieve when the 49ers had the ball. Aaron Rodgers certainly is capable of leading the Packers to lots of points, but they must stop someone.
    The main someones to stop this week are Robert Griffin III, who looked rusty in Washington's opening loss, and powerhouse running back Alfred Morris, held to 45 yards rushing by Philadelphia.
    Dallas (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)
    Most teams that produce six takeaways win in a romp. Not so Dallas, which had to hold off the Giants last week. Still, the Cowboys will take half as many opposition turnovers each week and be thrilled.
    San Diego (0-1)at Philadelphia (1-0)
    Forget the multitasking while watching the offense Chip Kelly brought to Philadelphia. No time for it.
    Kelly actually thought the Eagles were too slow in their win over Washington, but most everyone else was left breathless by the tempo set by Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.
    St. Louis (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1)
    Through nine years in St. Louis, Steven Jackson was a workhorse running back, rushing for 10,135 yards, scoring 56 touchdowns and making three trips to the Pro Bowl. He's now 30 and in Atlanta.
    Minnesota (0-1) at Chicago (1-0)
    A 78-yard run on his first carry for MVP Adrian Peterson was not a harbinger. Detroit slowed him after that and came back to beat the Vikings.
    Minnesota needs a strong pass rush, something Cincinnati failed to manage last week, if it is to win at Soldier Field. Without it, defending Brandon Marshall (eight catches, 104 yards and a TD) could be too tough a chore.
    New Orleans (1-0)at Tampa Bay (0-1)
    Cleaning up their sloppy act is paramount for the Bucs, penalized 13 times for 102 yards last week. A personal foul in the final minute on LB Lavonte David for shoving Jets QB Geno Smith out of bounds moved New York into position to win on Nick Folk's field goal with 2 seconds left.
    Sean Payton's coaching return from the bounty scandal suspension was a success, and the Saints beat Tampa Bay twice in 2012 without him.
    Miami (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0)
    The two franchises that spent the most money in free agency. The Dolphins barely used their prize addition, WR Mike Wallace (one catch, 15 yards), in victory at Cleveland, then Wallace voiced his displeasure, mostly with himself.
    It was much more of a lovefest in Indy, even though the Colts blew an early 14-point lead to Oakland and had to rally. The Colts have won seven consecutive home games.
    Tennessee (1-0) at Houston (1-0)
    If the Titans are going to contend in the AFC South, here is where they must prove themselves following an impressive opener at Pittsburgh. Tennessee's defense seems vastly better than the unit that allowed a league-high 471 points in 2012.
    Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (0-1)
    Having stewed since Sept. 5 about their second-half collapse — and those seven TD throws by Peyton Manning — the defending champions could take out their frustrations on the division-rival Browns. They certainly need stronger defense, but Cleveland doesn't present nearly the challenge the Broncos do.
    Detroit (1-0) at Arizona (0-1)
    Now that the Cardinals seem to have found a quarterback, Carson Palmer, maybe they can hang with potent Detroit. Reggie Bush was sensational in his Lions debut, but defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh drew yet another fine, $100,000 for his low block on Vikings center John Sullivan during an interception return.
    Carolina (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1)
    The Bills were on the verge of an upset over New England, only to fold late, something they always seem to do against the Patriots. They will wear throwback uniforms and honor many of their great players today.
    Jacksonville (0-1)at Oakland (0-1)
    Two teams fully expected to be cellar dwellers this season, but one looked pretty good in the opener. Oakland led late at Indianapolis and got a strong performance from QB Terrelle Pryor, especially on the ground with 112 yards and an 8.6 average per rush.
    Pittsburgh (0-1)at Cincinnati (0-1)(Monday night)
    After all four AFC North teams were beaten in their openers, the winner of this prime-time matchup will go to the head of the division. That's often where Pittsburgh is, but the Steelers were awful when Tennessee broke their 10-game winning string in home openers last week.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar