I was awake at 4am this morning, probably because of a combination of residual caffeine and building playoff adrenaline. The last thing I read last night was a great article by Hawkblogger about the facts and myths for this Sundays game against San Francisco.
One myth that he brought up was that Michael Crabtree's return is a game changer. Hawkblogger pointed out that when playing in Seattle since 2010 Crabtree hasn't been overwhelming, averaging only 3 catches and 34 yards per game. My thought is that this week is the first time both Crabtree and Boldin have played together in Seattle.
This brings me to my main question: Will the Seahawks miss Brandon Browner this week? Back I week two, with Browner out, Richard Sherman asked for and shadowed Boldin most of the game, quite effectively neutralizing him. However Crabtree didn't play in that game, and with him back this week I doubt the Seahawks will use the same strategy. I'm sure we'd like to see Sherman matched up more against Crabtree. Overall I actually think Maxwell is a better corner, but Boldin physical nature makes me wish Browner could line up against him. Boldin often lines up in the slot, so are we going to see nickelback Thurmond across from often? That strikes me as a problem, since Thurmond is great in coverage, but not so physical at the line.
Back in the December 8th game in San Francisco, Crabtree was back, and Browner was injured. This seemed to open things up more for Boldin, and he had 6 receptions for 93 yards. Sounds like a pretty good day, but truthfully the story line after that game was Frank Gore's 4th quarter, 51 yard run winning the day.
Will Maxwell having more starts under his belt make the difference in covering Boldin? Will Kam Chancellor cover Boldin? I'm not sure what will be the strategy this week, but in the end I believe in Carroll and Quinn game planning well for the challenge of Boldin/Crabtree, and I believe in the Seahawks defense.