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November 25, 2014 at 6:56 AM

First Look: San Francisco 49ers

Seahawks opponent: San Francisco 49ers

Game time: Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

TV: NBC

Coach: Jim Harbaugh — 43-15-1 in fourth season in San Francisco and overall.

2014 record: 7-4.

Last game: Beat Washington 17-13.

The series: 31st regular-season meeting. Series tied at 15 apiece, with Seahawks winning two of last three. Seahawks, though, haven’t won in the Bay Area since 2008. And the last and most memorable meeting isn’t included in the series record — Seattle’s 23-17 win in the NFC Championship game last January.

The early line: 49ers by 1.

Key players: QB Colin Kaepernick: The fourth-year quarterback remains one of the NFL’ nost intriguing, if erratic, talents. After throwing three interception in a week two home loss to the Bears, he has thrown just three since. In fact, he had a streak of 131 passes without an interception snapped in Sunday’s win over Washington. He also has thrown a touchdown in 18 straight games. He’s picking his spots more with his running this year, with 336 yards but no more than 24 in any of the last five games.

WR Anquan Boldin: The 34-year-old is coming off his best game of the season with nine catches for 137 yards Sunday. He remains Kaepernick’s favorite target with a team-high 65 catches for 825 yards and showed he can still take a big hit when he ran through a tackle from Washington safety Ryan Clark for a 29-yard gain that set up the winning touchdown.

LB Aldon Smith: Smith has played two games following his suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies, and appears at the top of his game. He had two sacks Sunday and according to Pro Football Focus has had the second-best pass-rushing productivity the last two weeks. More often than not figures to go up against Russell Okung.

LB Chris Borland: Borland, a rookie inside linebacker from Wisconsin, has become a sensation since moving into the starting lineup five games ago, making 64 tackles and also picking off two passes in a game against the Giants. The 49ers took him with the 77th pick of the 2014 draft.

San Francisco’s keys to success: The 49ers remain pretty much the same team as throughout the Jim Harbaugh era. They feature a defense that ranks second in the NFL at 300.1 yards allowed per game, just behind Seattle’s 296.8 and is particularly stingy against the pass, ranking second in the NFL in passing yards allowed at 207.2. The 49ers have allowed just 23 points the last two games and 17 or fewer in five of the last seven. The 49ers held Washington to 213 in a 17-13 win Sunday. The 49ers also remain careful with the ball, with a plus-eight turnover differential. The 49ers, though, have not been as dynamic offensively this season, averaging 20.7 points per game, 21st in the NFL. While still one of the better running teams in the NFL, the 49ers have not been as consistent as past years. Their average rushing yards per game of 119.5, while tied for the 10th in the NFL, is the lowest of the Jim Harbaugh era. But the defense keeps the 49ers in games and San Francisco of late has been able to find ways to win games, carrying a three-game winning streak into Thursday night’s game.

BY THE NUMBERS

5 — The number of games the 49ers have won by six points or fewer this season.

19-2 — San Francisco’s record when Colin Kaepernick has a quarterback rating of 90 or better.

53.4 — Kaepernick’s career passer rating against Seattle.

 

 

 

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