The San Francisco 49ers host NFC West rivals the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday with both teams heading into the game with 4-2 records but vastly different moods ahead of what should be a torrid defensive battle.
Seattle enjoyed one of their best wins for some time on Sunday with a 24-23 late comeback over the New England Patriots while the 49ers suffered a 26-3 loss at home to the New York Giants, the same team that ended their dream of reaching last year's Super Bowl.
For San Francisco, the short turnaround for the televised Thursday night game is a blessing in disguise, said quarterback Alex Smith, who threw three interceptions against the Giants.
"After a loss like that, in some ways it is nice because you can't dwell on it, even as a team. You have just got to move on," said Smith.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh knows his team face a potentially bruising clash at Candlestick Park.
"They are a good football team, a tough football team," he said.
"It will be a football fight, they play hard, they play fast and they are really good defensively," added Harbaugh.
The game features the league's top ranked defense in the 49ers (who have allowed just 275.8 yards per game) and the fourth-ranked Seahawks.
While Smith hopes to bounce back from an unusually trying Sunday, in which he was also sacked six times, the Seahawks expect a test from the 49ers rushing game, led by Frank Gore.
"They are a machine running the ball," said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, "It begins there and then we have got to think about the pass rush after we get that slowed down, if we're that fortunate," he said.
The 'Niners have the top ranked rushing offense while Seattle possess the number two ranked run defense.
"It's going to be a dog fight brawl and we know that," said Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill.
The Seahawks' positive start to the season has been all the more impressive given they have used rookie Russell Wilson at quarterback rather than the man favored for the job, Matt Flynn.
Wilson has responded with some solid displays, the best coming on Sunday when he threw for three touchdowns and 293 yards.
The two teams are tied with the Arizona Cardinals at the top of the NFC West.
(Editing by Julian Linden)