Every Seahawk is playing for their job. The coaching staff Tim Ruskell hired is playing for their respective jobs. Greg Knapp must field an NFL offense, whether he has the talent to do so or not. Seattle's multiheaded braintrust must exhibit a defense that can dominate at home or face dismal and dispersal. Jim Mora is in danger of being fired after one season - his second forced exit in as many head coaching jobs. Mora is fighting for his right to head coach in the NFL.
Ruskell is playing for his future through his talent. Ruskell branded talent is endangered. Seattle losing down the stretch will force a complete rebuild. Beloved Seahawks could be moved. Seattle might embrace short term collapse for long term gains.
The San Francisco 49ers are further along their rebuilding process than Seattle. They have high first-round starters on offense and defense, some entering their prime and some, like Alex Smith, just now playing like a professional. Ruskell can prove post-mortem that his way was working, and that though Seattle is not a contender this season, he was building a contender for the future. That he had accomplished in two years, and after prolonging his team's title chances, a working rebuild, further along than San Francisco and from lesser resources.
Seattle must win. Every player, every decision is being audited. Contenders play for glory. Beheaded franchises facing a second straight losing season play for their careers.