But the Seahawks deviated from that against the Saints, using some zone-read runs early from quarterback Russell Wilson to loosen up the Saints' defense and then using play-action to get some big plays and break the game open early.
This will be the third game that Seattle's offensive line is back intact, and that could lead to a better running game.
Defensively, the key for Seattle remains its ability to play man coverage on the corners with the knowledge that safety Earl Thomas will make up for any mistakes deep.
The other key is the ability of Seattle's linebackers to cover well while also still defending the run -- the Seahawks are able to keep their base defense on the field in most situations, making it harder for offenses to exploit specific matchups.
Seattle may try to run blitz more in this game to take that away first and put the game squarely in the hands of 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and force him to throw into tight windows of Seattle's man coverage.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Seahawks defense vs. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick -- Kaepernick has had two of his worst games against the Seahawks, going 32-for-64 for 371 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. But each of those were in Seattle, and in the Week 2 loss, he was also without receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. With the 49ers receiving corps back to a fuller state, he will have more weapons to which to throw. The early stages of the game figure to be especially critical. Kaepernick seemed to let his emotions get to him in the two losses in Seattle once things started to go bad. The Seahawks will also have to defend against Kaepernick's running. MLB Bobby Wagner will be a key in that effort.
--Seahawks CB Richard Sherman vs. 49ers TE Vernon Davis -- Seattle made the rare move in the first game this year against the 49ers of assigning Sherman to take on Davis -- Sherman usually lines up on the left side and takes whichever receiver lines up there. But Sherman asked to take on Davis in the Week 2 game in Seattle and held him to three receptions for 40 yards, punctuating the win with a leaping interception late in the game. Davis is surely hoping for a chance to avenge that game.
--Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. 49ers linebackers -- Lynch has gained just 99 yards on 33 carries the last two weeks. Now he will face a standout 49ers linebacking corps that is maybe the best in the NFL. Seattle will need good push up front to get Lynch to the second level and allow him a chance to pull off some of his trademark "Beast Mode" runs.