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Seahawks vs. 49ers: 3 things to watch for in Seattle's matchup with San Francisco

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow, the Seahawks will take on the Colin Kaepernick-less 49ers in Seattle, and Blaine Gabbert will be leading the charge against the Legion of Boom. Never would I have ever thought I'd say those words. Regardless, Seattle must win this game if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. Let's dive in.

Third Down Completions

To say that the Seahawks struggled on third down conversions last Sunday would be an understatement. Against the Cardinals, Seattle went 1-for-8 on third downs. They converted one third down last week. ONE. I don't care what happens the rest of the game. If you only convert one third down, you likely aren't going to win.

The Seahawks' offense will need to create and sustain drives if they plan on being playoff contenders.

Kevin Smith

With Paul Richardson out with a hamstring injury, the Seahawks will be thin at the wide receiver position on Sunday. This leaves them with four healthy wide receivers: Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, and Kevin Smith. I'm not saying Kevin Smith will have a crazy productive game -- but he's more versatile than Chris Matthews, so it will be interesting to see what he can do.

See if Kevin capitalizes on the opportunity and makes a play or two. Watch for him to make some plays on special teams as well.

Offensive Line

Last week, the Seahawks' offensive line gave up zero sacks. A good start.

However, numerous penalties derailed many drives, and were ultimately one of the reasons the offense struggled so mightily (especially in the first half). There are two things I want to see out of the offensive line this Sunday:

1) Minimal penalties. Chill with the holding and false starts guys.
2) Hold up in pass protection. I'm going to be bold in my requests this weekend and ask that the offensive line give Russell an average about of time in pass protection. Please and thank you.

Additionally, look to see how Russell responds in the pocket (if there is one). Does he look comfortable? Does he step up? Does he escape too quickly? Is he making accurate reads? Russell had a poor game last Sunday and will look to bounce back on Sunday against the Niners.