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Jimmy G will be key to 49ers beating Seahawks in Week 4

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Jimmy Garoppolo

The 49ers’ first head-to-head matchup against an NFC West opponent is not just any division game.

It’s against the struggling Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

The Seahawks (1-2) have lost two games in a row. For as long as Russell Wilson has lined up behind center, the Seahawks have never lost three games in succession.

Things have not gone according to plan for the 49ers, either.

The 49ers (2-1) already have been hit hard by injuries at running back and cornerback.

Here’s a look at five players to watch as the 49ers look to keep pace in the division:

5. CB Emmanuel Moseley

It does not look as if Josh Norman will be available after sustaining a bruised lung Sunday night.

It remains to be seen which cornerback — Dre Kirkpatrick or Deommodore Lenoir — the 49ers play on the other side. (Maybe both.)

The 49ers will have to roll coverage to the other side. Moseley must take care of his side of the field without much help.

The 49ers have to put a lot of faith in Moseley to hold up in coverage, whether he is going against DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett.

4. RB Trey Sermon

Rookie Trey Sermon was pressed into action in Week 3 because the 49ers’ top running backs — Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty — were unavailable.

Mitchell has a chance to return against the Seahawks, but that does not seem likely as he is still in pain from a shoulder injury sustained in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

Sermon, a third-round draft pick, still is learning the system and the NFL game. He needs to play at a faster speed in order for the 49ers to present the Seahawks with a threat in the run game.

3. WR Deebo Samuel

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel has been the 49ers’ best player through three games. They will need contributions from him as a receiver and runner in this one.

The Seahawks rank 27th in the league in pass defense, surrendering 285 yards per game. Samuel is the 49ers’ only reliable pass-catcher on the outside. He leads the team with 20 receptions for 334 yards and a touchdown.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the 49ers this week, the Seahawks will certainly do their best to neutralize Samuel. But that cannot deter the 49ers from making sure he gets plenty of touches on Sunday.

2. LB Fred Warner

Linebacker Fred Warner was willing to accept more than his fair share of the blame for the 49ers’ Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

He said he could have (should have) lined up 5 yards deeper on the first play of Aaron Rodgers’ late-game comeback.

Warner is among the 49ers’ best players. And he will be tested throughout Sunday’s game. Underrated running back Chris Carson will challenge Warner in the run game. And Warner must also do his part to limit Wilson’s scrambling and playmaking in the passing game.

1. QB Jimmy Garoppolo

With all the other issues on the team, this could be a game in which coach Kyle Shanahan turns it over to Jimmy Garoppolo and puts more on his plate.

The key for Garoppolo is to, well, not turn it over. He must take care of the football in order to put the 49ers in position to win the game.

Garoppolo generally played well in the first three games of the season. He completed 67 percent of his pass attempts while averaging 250 yards passing per game with four TDs and one interception.

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Garoppolo clearly is the best option at quarterback for the 49ers. There is no reason for the 49ers to call on Trey Lance at this stage.

There are talented rookies around the league who are playing before they are ready, and it shows. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones might end up being good quarterbacks, but they are currently among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL.

The 49ers need to go with the quarterback who gives them the best chance to win. That’s Garoppolo. And, right now, they might need to ask for more from Garoppolo to win games.

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