Seahawks at 49ers: Everything you need to know
Seattle (8-5) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over San Francisco (3-10). For the 49ers, it's all about playing for pride, which it did last week by defeating Denver 20-14 when the Broncos were desperate for a win in oreder to remain in the playoff hunt.
The Seahawks, in theory, should win easily given that they destroyed San Francisco 43-16 just two weeks ago. But this is the NFL where such things mean little, which is why the betting line on this game opened at Seattle minus 5 1/2 before getting bet down to 3 1/2. They don't call them "wise guys" for nothing.
Betting line: Seahawks minus 3 1/2, over/under 44.
Time: 1:05 p.m., Sunday.
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
Radio: Portland, KFXX, 1080 AM and Portland, KGON, 92.3 FM
Seattle rookie RB Rashaad Penny (knee) and LB K.J. Wright (knee) are out. So is safety Maurice Alexander (concussion).
Right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) is doubtful. He missed Monday's win over Minnesota.
Safety Bradley McDougald (knee) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Oblique) are listed as questionable along with WR Doug Baldwin (hip). All three are expected to play.
San Francisco safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) is out.
Questionable are RB Matt Breida (ankle), DE Cassius Marsh (concussion), CB K'Waun Williams (knee) are questionable, WR Marquise Goodwin (calf), WR Dante Pettis (foot) and LB Mark Nzeocha (groin).
When the Seahawks have the ball
San Francisco ranks ninth in total defense but 27th in scoring defense (26.9 points per game) in part because of the massive amount of turnovers the offense commits (26) which has led to a league worst minus-21 turnover differential.
Seattle's defense can put in work when it's not placed in bad situations. Still, Seattle's league-leading rushing attack should be able to match the 168 yards of production from the first meeting and the 49ers' 31 sacks on the season shouldn't give the Seahawks too much pause even though they San Francisco got to Seattle QB Russell Wilson three times at CenturyLink Field.
As long as Seattle runs the ball well it should have no problem moving the ball on Sunday. Mix in a few forced turnovers by the defense and the Seahawks should score at least 27 points.
When the 49ers have the ball
San Francisco is an offensive threat when it comes to racking up yardage with rookie QB Nick Mullens slinging the ball all over the field. He threw for 411 yards in the first meeting at Seattle and tight end George Kittle has emerged as one of the best in the NFL.
But this team, as previously mentioned, turns over the ball at an alarming rate. Three costly turnovers helped transform a probable loss at Seattle into a blowout defeat. Seattle is plus-11 in turnover differential and will likely live with Mullens rolling up yardage as long as they don't lead to very many points.
Seattle must make sure it once again slows down San Francisco's running game which managed just 66 yards in the previous meeting.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll on the team's practice habits: “We’re finding a consistency in our performance through the week that gets us ready for the performance on the weekend. We’re practicing really well, the guys are tuned in and into it in the meetings and the walk-thru’s and that all adds up to giving you a chance to be on it on gameday and there’s been a consistency about us that’s been different than earlier in the year."
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan on TE George Kittle who has 1,103 yards this season: "The most impressive thing is what he’s been doing after the catch. I think he’s having such a good year because he’s been able to stay healthy...He hasn’t slowed down and the aggressiveness he’s doing once he gets the ball in his hands is – we get the ball to him quite a bit but the reason that it’s a different year and a special year is because of what he’s doing after the catch, which is all him just being aggressive and making plays.”
Forget about what occurred two weeks ago in Seattle. Could it happen again? Yes. Is that probable? No. If it were then the betting line wouldn't be so tight.
Seattle is the better team but it's facing a team with nothing to lose, is at home, that hasn't quit and can play defense and move the football. That's all it takes for an upset to occur.
That all said, Seattle is playing at a high level and so far this season has not shot itself in the foot against a vastly inferior team. For that reason alone, expect Seattle to take care of business and lock up a playoff berth in what should be an entertaining football game.
PREDICTION: Seattle 27, San Francisco 17.