In what has become a new age NFL rivalry, the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will take center stage Sunday night in primetime. The last time the 49ers and Seahawks met, it was a blowout victory for the Seahawks in week 16, 42-13. It wasn’t a nice trip for Colin Kaepernick in his first visit to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, which is the most hostile environment for any team to play in. Both teams had to fight and claw to achieve victory in week 1, with the Seahawks avoiding a potential mini upset against the Carolina Panthers on the road. The Panthers aren’t an awful team themselves, so I think there were some that knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk for the Seahawks. There was also the letdown spot looking ahead to this week against the 49ers at home. Seahawk fans don’t need any more reason to be amped up, but with this being the season opener, it’s going to be electric at CenturyLink Field Sunday night.
No disrespect to the Panthers, they are decent, but the ‘Niners faced a more formidable opponent in week 1. Kaepernick went off against the Packers, but this is no where the same defense, or setting of last week. Is there some revenge in the forecast for the 49ers after getting trampled on in the last meeting? Read on below.
49ers vs. Seahawks Betting Odds:
San Francisco 49ers -3(-115)
@ Seattle Seahawks +3(-105)
Over 44 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
49ers vs. Seahawks Pick:
The dynamic rookies, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, provided a nice backdrop for the start of a new rivalry in the NFC West. The division has actually gone from being one of the worst, to a division that people are beginning to take notice of. Remember when the Seahawks got into the playoffs with around a .500 record with Charlie Whitehurst as the quarterback? Yeah, those days are long gone, and should be for quite awhile. Some would argue that the 49ers and Seahawks are the two best teams in the NFL, so this is definitely one of the best divisions in football.
The Seahawks have benefited from playing in the toughest stadium to play in for visiting teams. However, the Seahawks are a team that is loaded with talent from top to bottom. In fact, Seattle seems to be the popular pick to win the Super Bowl, with these two teams meeting a third time in the NFC Championship game. Russell Wilson dazzled in his rookie season, if it wasn’t for the class he was in, he would have probably received rookie of the year. While the Seahawks managed to just get by the Panthers last week, only scoring 12 points in a 12-7 win. Wilson still managed to throw for 320 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. The no interceptions part is key. Wilson is a quarterback that manages the game well and does not make dumb mistakes, a rarity last season for a rookie quarterback. I only expect him to get better in his decision making, so the sky really is the limit for Wilson. The Seahawks boast a powerful running attack with Marshawn Lynch. In 2012 the ‘Hawks were 3rd rushing the ball, with an average of 161.2 yards on the ground per game. The excellent average is thanks to the dual-threat Seattle possesses with Wilson’s running ability. The Seahawks are known for their defense, but it may come as a surprise that they averaged scoring 25.8 points a game last year. Nevertheless, the Seahawks’ defense is the meat and potatoes of this team, which happened to look fantastic in week 1. They shut the Panthers down in all phases of the game, holding them to only 7 points, and Cam Newton to only 125 yards. Cam couldn’t get it going on the ground or in the air, as the Seahawks’ stingy defense had him on lockdown.
Seattle will have a little larger task against the 49ers this week, though. I don’t know if you can say revamped, but the addition of Anquan Boldin has put their offense on another level. It really is too bad Michael Crabtree had to get injured, because I don’t see how any team is going to be able to stop them when he comes back. There is speed and power from multiple positions on the field. The running game is most certainly solid with Frank Gore, and then with Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis catching balls from Kaepernick, this is one difficult offense to slow down. Just ask the Green Bay Packers, who got pummelled for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns at the hands of Kaepernick. He is a quarterback that will keep you on your toes, guessing what the next play call is going to be. The Seahawks handled him brilliantly the first time they met, but was last week more of a reflection of how bad the Packers’ defense is, or was it because Kaepernick is just that good. I think it is a little of both, but I think Kaepernick is that good, and I believe that the acquisition of Boldin is going to propel the offense to new heights. He hauled in 13 balls for 208 yards and a touchdown in a monster performance against the Packers last week. He’ll look to duplicate that against one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Richard Sherman.
With a number of marquee games on the viewing schedule on Sunday, this is one game I have had circled since the season was announced. Seahawk fans are so jacked up for this that they are looking to break a stadium noise record (look it up). With Guinness World Records on hand and this being the season opener against the 49ers, I wouldn’t be surprised if they break the record. Betting against the Seahawks at home regularly will end up being a losing proposition for you, but I’m going to do just that for tonight. The Seahawks will try to pound the ball, but will run into the 49ers strength, stopping the run. While they looked completely lost last time out against this same team, I expect Harbaugh to have a much better game plan for Sunday night. I’ll take the 49ers in what should be a close battle to the end.
PICK: 49ers +3 (-115)