The Seattle Seahawks had injuries added to insult in Week 16.
One week ahead of the winner-take-all battle between the 49ers and Seahawks for the NFC West title, Seattle not only lost a home game to a non-playoff team, but also lost some key players to injury in the process.
Following their 27-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll informed the media that running backs Chris Carson (hip crack) and C.J. Prosise (broken arm) have been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Additionally, left tackle Duane Brown -- who was inactive for the game -- will have knee surgery and will miss the game against the 49ers. There is a chance he could return for the playoffs.
Both Carson and Prosise departed the loss to the Cardinals in the first half and did not return. That left Seattle with only one healthy running back in the second half, rookie sixth-round draft pick Travis Homer. Entering Week 16, the former Miami Hurricane had three career rushes for 36 yards, with a long of 29.
Outside of the 49ers and Ravens, the Seahawks entered Week 16 with the NFL's most productive rush offense, averaging 141.7 yards per game. They were held to only 90 by the Cardinals, though, Seattle's lowest rushing output since Week 1. With Rashaad Penny already out for the season and now Carson and Prosise joining him, the Seahawks' running back depth is extremely depleted heading into Week 17, and they might be forced to sign one or more free agents.
Without dependable running backs to turn to, one would expect Seattle to rely on quarterback Russell Wilson even more heavily than usual in Week 17. But with Brown -- who protects Wilson's blindside -- out as well, the Seahawks' challenge of beating the 49ers just got a whole lot tougher.
The winner of the 49ers-Seahawks game will win the NFC West. San Francisco would claim the No. 1 overall seed and a first-round bye with a victory, but would drop to the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the conference with a loss.