Editor's note: NBC's Sunday Night Football color commentator Cris Collinsworth was asked about the 49ers entering a pivotal game against the Seattle Seahawks. Below is a transcript of his answers:
Question: Do the 49ers have to have a statement win against the Seahawks?
Collinsworth: Umm, they need to make the playoffs. We haven't assured ourselves of anything with that. And it's going to be a little bit tough. They are missing Staley and Iupati, or at least they were on that offensive line. Frank Gore has not been running the ball very well maybe because of that the last 2-3 weeks. And they are going to go into a buzzsaw. This Seattle bunch can come and blitz and rush the passer from everywhere. They have great athletes. Their cornerbacks are good. Earl Thomas their safety can really play. We've seen Russell Wilson tear it up. Now, usually when they go to San Francisco, it turns into one of those 17-10 kind of games and I think that's what it's going to be again. San Francisco's defense is going to have to dominate and I think it has a chance to.
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Question: You mention it being a close game. Is that kind of how you see it playing itself out? A real tight matchup as opposed to what happened against the Saints?
Collinsworth: Yeah, I do. And I think you will start seeing San Francisco's passing game wake up a little although it is going to be tough against this defense of Seattle. But getting Crabtree back for this one is perfect. Because he is a big physical body that can catch some of those slants and some of those balls over the middle and the tough catches and that's what this is going to be. This is going to be a physical war on the outside with these Wide Receivers and these Corners 1-on-1 matched up and so a slant, break a tackle someone scores a touchdown and that's usually how this one is won.