The West Coast rivalry kicks off in Week 8 as the San Francisco 49ers travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle looks to bounce back after falling to the Arizona Cardinals in a Week 7 overtime loss, meanwhile, San Francisco aims to improve their record to remain relevant in a stacked NFC West division. As both teams prepare for their first meeting of the season, here are five things to watch for at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
1. Russ' MVP Campaign
Russell Wilson is playing like an MVP in 2020 and is off to a historic start seven weeks into the season. The ninth-year quarterback currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (22) and passer rating (119.5) this season. National pundits are calling him the "master of the deep ball" as Wilson leads the NFL with 569 yards and nine touchdowns on deep passes this season. Speaking of touchdowns, what makes him more dangerous is that 10 percent of his passes have resulted in scores, the highest rate by any qualified quarterback in a season in the Super Bowl era.
He's also seen great production out his No. 1 and 2 receivers, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Lockett (542 receiving yards and seven touchdowns) and Metcalf (519 receiving yards and five touchdowns) are two of four players in the entire NFL with 500-plus receiving yards and five-plus receiving scores in 2020. The Seahawks top-rated offense is humming, but San Francisco's Top 3 defense aims to slow down their momentum on Sunday.
The NFL world recognized that Wilson is indeed human, throwing three interceptions on "Sunday Night Football" against the Cardinals. He also has struggled on third down, completing 44.7 percent of his passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He's also been sacked six times on third down situations. Overall, Seattle's offense sits near the bottom of the league in third down conversion rates at 34 percent (31st). Expect this to be an area of focus for San Francisco in Week 8.