NFL Picks Week 1: Will Alex Smith QB 49ers to Jim Harbaugh's First Win?

Cian Fahey@CianafFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 1:  Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers speaks with Starting Quarterback Alex Smith #11 on the field during their preseason NFL Game against  the San Diego Chargers on September 1, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers see a rare sight in Candlestick Park this Sunday as the Seattle Seahawks bring a starting quarterback who is decidedly worse than their own to town.

49ers fans haven't exactly grown to love Alex Smith over his seven-year career in San Francisco but they may appreciate him more when they get to watch Tarvaris Jackson this Sunday.

Jackson arrives as part of a new-look offense with the Seahawks but he didn't show anything in the preseason to suggest that he isn't just the same old Tarvaris Jackson from Minnesota. In saying that you must note that Alex Smith did little in the preseason to suggest that he is ready to break out anytime soon either.

The former first overall pick hadn't thrown a touchdown and finished the preseason with a rating of 48.1 for the four games. Jackson wasn't much better with a 61.9 rating and only one touchdown to two interceptions.

Ultimately this game comes down to who will make the fewest mistakes at the quarterback position. Alex Smith has a lot more experience in the NFL and a much better running game to rely on than Jackson.

With Patrick Willis playing across from him Jackson will not be able to simply rely on Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson to blow their way through the defense en route to victory. Jackson will need to make some plays and some big ones in all likelihood because Frank Gore looks set to have a big day.

After locking up his contract situation the 49ers now have a happy bell cow to hitch their season to with some impressive backs behind him to complement him with.

The 49ers should still run the ball repeatedly despite the hiring of Jim Harbaugh who is a celebrated quarterback guru and former NFL quarterback himself.

With a settled offensive line in front of him Gore should have a much bigger day than either Lynch or Jackson. The Seahawks offensive line is at best unproven as they look to incorporate new draft picks as well as watching over Russell Okung to make sure he doesn't go down injured...again!

The 49ers are a team that is much better equipped to deal with poor quarterback play because they have been doing so for years. The Seahawks may not realize the value of Matthew Hasselbeck now that he is plying his trade in Tennessee and come to appreciate him that much more with Jackson under center.

Being the away team for a quarterback under pressure in a new offense—even if it's the same system—is not an easy baptism for Jackson.

The San Francisco 49ers will find a way to win this weekend, whether they are led there by Alex Smith or he is dragged along like he has been is an entirely different matter.