SAN FRANCISCO -- Frank Gore, known for his terrific vision, was already looking ahead in the locker room after Sunday's game. He wasn't even dressed yet -- he had one pant leg to go -- but had apparently washed away the 49ers' 34-28 victory over the Green Bay Packers while in the shower.
"We're already thinking about Seattle," the running back said.
He was not alone. Across a jubilant locker room, players acknowledged that their celebration would have to be brief. The 49ers travel to Seattle in Week 2 for a highly anticipated showdown between NFC West heavyweights.
This is one of the hottest rivalries sports, a duel between teams each offering legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, dynamic young quarterbacks, strong-willed coaches and genuine disdain for each other.
The Week 1 action added a few more logs to the fire. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson opened the day by throwing for 320 yards and a touchdown to lead a 12-7 road victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Colin Kaepernick sent his retort hours later by throwing for 412 yards and three touchdowns.
Tarell Brown, the 49ers cornerback, can hardly wait. He said that a 49ers schedule featuring the talented Packers and Seahawks out of the gate was an ideal way to say hello to 2013.
"You can't beat it," Brown said. "You can't ask for anything more. I think we have the right team, the right coaching staff and the right mindset to take this challenge on."
Said 49ers fullback Bruce Miller: "It's a tough week. It's going to be a good football game. A division game this early in the season. We have to start thinking about it."
This was a circle-the-date type game long before Sunday's action. In July, a Seahawks fan group calling itself Volume 12 entered a bid to the Guinness Book of World Records with intention of breaking the mark of loudest stadium in the world on Sept. 15 at CenturyLink Field.
The current sports decibel record is 131.76, set during a soccer match in Istanbul. Seahawks games have reached as high as 112 decibels, according to the team's website.
This time, it's the Seahawks' home opener, a nationally televised game on NBC's "Football Night in America" and an opponent that brings out the best in Seattle's vocal chords.
The midweek hype alone will be enough to rattle some eardrums. Gore vowed to be ready. Before leaving the locker room Sunday, he said he planned to call running backs coach Tom Rathman later that night for their first discussion about the Seattle game.
"We've got the taste in our mouth of having a lot of success the last two years and we want to keep it," Gore said. "We step on the field and that's what we think about: We're supposed to win."
The NFC West rivals split the season series last year, with each team winning at home. The 49ers won 13-6 on Oct. 18.
And when the Seahawks cruised 42-13 in Seattle on Dec. 23 -- Jim Harbaugh's 49th birthday -- they apparently relished the payback. Seahawk defensive backs Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman later told Yahoo! Sports that Harbaugh had taunted them after the October victory by honking his car horn and waving at their team bus.
Harbaugh called that allegation "a fabrication."
This game would be worthy of buzz even without such bad blood. These might be the two best teams in the NFC.
In a poll of CBS analysts released Sunday, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino all picked Seattle to reach the Super Bowl. The lone dissenter was Bill Cowher, who picked Atlanta. In a survey of 35 analysts and insiders from ESPN, 11 picked Seattle to win the NFC while 10 picked the 49ers.
Week's 2 showdown ought to shed some more light on where the teams really stand. Linebacker Patrick Willis was going to take longer than most 49ers to soak in the 49ers win over Green Bay. He was going to give himself until Monday morning.
"And then, when I get to the facility it's all about working out and getting my mind ready for Seattle," he said.