SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- When the NFL calendar was released all the way back in April, this week was circled throughout the league.
Week 14: Seattle at San Francisco.
Now that it's game week, it is, indeed, a crucial game. However, each team needs it for different reasons. The NFC West title is not directly at stake. The Seahawks are 10-1 going into a home game against New Orleans on Monday night. The 49ers are 8-4 heading into the final quarter of the season.
The Seahawks can win the NFC West with a victory over the 49ers on Sunday regardless of what happens Monday night. The 49ers need to beat Seattle to keep pace for the sixth and final NFC playoff seed. The 49ers lead both Philadelphia and Arizona by a game in the wild-card race.
It was no surprise the Seahawks were a topic of discussion Sunday in the locker room, minutes after the 49ers' 23-13 win over St. Louis.
San Francisco safety Donte Whitner said the 49ers are ready for the Seahawks after they were “embarrassed” in Seattle in Week during a 29-3 loss. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis said the key is not to be “overwhelmed” by the task. Guard Alex Boone essentially had the same message Sunday night.
“It's another game to us,” Boone said. “Anytime you overthink a game, you get beat. We'll go over details, but let's not make it more than it is.”
That may be difficult to do, considering it's a game that has been pumped up for nearly eight months.