There is no doubt that the hatred between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks trickles down from the organization, all the way down to their fans. A rivalry that has developed into one of the biggest in the NFL, both teams will square off against each other on Sunday night at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, in what promises to be a hard fought battle between the two NFC West rivals.
Both will be looking to improve to 2-0 on the young football season while getting a leg up on one another. While the winner will reap the benefits of sitting atop of the NFC West, the loser may fall to third in the division,with a St. Louis Rams victory. So with the game holding not only bragging rights but the right to be the top dog in the NFC West, which team will come out on top?
Although the game has yet to be played, I believe the Niners tight-end position will be key in Sunday Night’s bout, mainly TE Vernon Davis and rookie second-round pick (No. 55) TE Vance McDonald. Both players have the ability to extend drives while being red zone targets. However, do not expect Davis to have an encore performance as he did against the Green Bay Packers. In their two meetings last season, Davis was only targeted one time. That’s right one time. A player that commands the ultimate respect, Davis will often be double teamed, leaving one-on-one opportunities for other players around him.
With Davis and WR Anquan Boldin both expected to garner the majority of the attention after last week’s season opener, look for McDonald to make his presence felt. Even Davis had high praise for the rookie second-round pick, as he was impressed with his work ethic and potential to be another offensive weapon in Greg Roman’s dual tight-end sets. A versatile athlete who can be lined up at various offensive positions such as former 49ers TE Delanie Walker, the 6-foot-4, McDonald has the frame that can create separation by leaning on the smaller defensive backs.
If the Niners can get the most out of their tight-end position, it will greatly open up the passing game, as Boldin will likely receive help over the top from Seahawks Pro Bowl FS Earl Thomas. If this is the case, look for McDonald and Davis to make some big plays down the middle on seam, post, and hitch routes, as the Seahawks can’t cover everyone.
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