There is absolutely zero love lost this week. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks loathe each other. People in San Francisco won’t even use chewing gum this week due to Pete Carroll; don’t quote me on that one, but it’s definitely true.
The 49ers have actually been looking like a good team again the past few weeks. The problem is, the Seahawks have been almost unstoppable.
Why the 49ers Will Win
The 49ers offense has been rolling as of late. Finally healthy, everyone seems to be in sync and clicking. This game comes a week removed from absolutely steamrolling the New England Patriots, whose defense has been stellar this season. On the flip side, the Seahawks defense is nothing but atrocious. Coming into the week as the league’s 29th-ranked defense, they are not stopping anyone.
The biggest issue facing the 49ers this year has been pass protection. The Seahawks have only managed to pull off nine sacks on the year. This is the perfect remedy for an offensive line that has struggled at times this year. This would be a good week for Jimmy Garoppolo to get in a good rhythm, as he may find himself in a shootout.
Unfortunately, Deebo Samuel will be missing this game. The onus will be on Brandon Aiyuk once again to pick up the slack in the receiving department, but he won’t be alone. George Kittle should have a very good game this week. Seattle has done a pretty good job against tight ends this year, only giving up an average of 47 yards a game, but they haven’t faced anyone near the capability of Kittle.
While this may be a good game to get the passing game going a bit more, the bread-and-butter of the 49ers is running. The 5th-ranked rushing offense needs to carry the team again. Jeff Wilson had a very good game last week, and needs to continue from there. Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright will obviously be a force in the run game, but the 49ers’ mix of creativity and old-fashioned football should work well.
(Editor’s Note: Jeff Wilson has been placed on IR with an ankle injury and will not play this week.)
On defense, life is going to be fairly difficult this week. The rush defense should be very good again, as always. Chris Carson may not be playing this week with a foot injury, and the rest of the Seahawks backfield has been shaky at best. This is one place where I have little to no doubt about the capabilities of the 49ers defense
Passing defense is another thing entirely. Step one has to be limiting D.K. Metcalf. This has been almost impossible for most teams, because the man is a physical specimen. Metcalf’s interception tackle last week showed off his impressive speed. He will run right by almost any defensive back, while at the same time, being far taller and stronger than them. The 49ers will have to roll coverage his way, but at the same time, Tyler Lockett is no slouch either.
As far as Russell Wilson is concerned, the key is keeping him in the pocket. He is a magician when he is forced to roll out. Keep him contained inside and get interior pressure to rattle him. Wilson needs to be limited, as I’m not sure if the 49ers are going to be able to completely stop him from making plays.
Why the Seahawks Will Win
The Seahawks won’t win because of their defense. They have given up 23 or more points in every game so far this season. They are just really bad on defense this year. With that out of the way, let’s focus on the reason why they may win the game.
Russell-freakin’-Wilson is a man on a mission this year. Currently, he is looking like the MVP frontrunner, and that’s with very little running game to help support him. The biggest problem with Wilson is that he almost looks better when he is flushed outside of the pocket. When the play breaks down, Wilson finds a way.
Aside from a poor Week 1 game, Metcalf has been on fire this season. Scoring five touchdowns and averaging a whopping 21.6 yards per catch, Metcalf leads in the NFL in the latter category. The 49ers will roll coverage his way, but if he can take the top off the defense once or twice, the game is over.
Then, there is Tyler Lockett. Lockett is still Wilson’s favorite receiving target, adding seven touchdowns of his own. While Metcalf takes extra coverage deep, Lockett handles the short-to-medium route capabilities. This is an area where Lockett excels, doing a lot of the things for the Seahawks that Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk do for the 49ers.
The Seahawks will look to get these two, along with their other targets, involved early and often. The onus will be on the 49ers defensive backs to win this game, and I’m not too confident in that. So far this season, that is one unit that has not looked up to par.
This week, we are sticking with what worked last week. The Seahawks will beat the 49ers, 20-17, in a close, nail biting finish. Now, the 49ers will do what they do best: prove me wrong.
(Featured Image Credit: 49ers.com)