This is a defining game for Pete Carroll as an NFL head coach. He's good, but can he be great? VS Harbarf, he's 0-3. In a chess match, it seems like our coaching staff is a couple of moves behind theirs and trying to play catch up. Can Carroll finally outduel his #1 rival?
Concerns for this game - our D line depth. Sure we can just plug in some new guys, but how well will they be able to pick up SF's complex schemes, formations and trap blocking? If they get their running game going, they won't need to rely so much on Kaepernick for big plays. They're going to try to eat up clock and keep Wilson and Lynch off the field. With our thin d-line depth, our defense could tire out in the second half against their very good o-line.
On the other side of the ball, Justin Smith not playing will be huge for us, but Francois is pretty good too.
This game is going to come down to turn overs, our ability to stop their run game, and penalties. Will there be fumbles, picks and hat tricks? If the turnover differential is on the plus side for the Hawks, we win. If we can force false starts, and put them into obvious passing situations, we win.