A massive NFC West divisional clash concludes Week 16’s NFL action as the San Francisco 49ers head to football’s most dominant home-field to take on the Seattle Seahawks.
Though many are heralding this contest as a battle for the NFC West divisional crown, it really isn’t. San Francisco just needs to win one of their final two contests, and considering they play the Cardinals in Week 17, a loss in Seattle wouldn’t be all that drastic. That said, it’s still a big game and a loss in Seattle would keep the Seahawks’ chances of winning this division very much alive. The 49ers may be prone to a bit of a letdown in this spot, especially after last week’s wild performance in New England. San Francisco ended up taking down Tom Brady and the Patriots, but it wasn’t before blowing a 28-point lead. Though they ended up pulling out the victory, some red flags had to be raised. On the injury front for the Niners, the only notable omission is all-pro defensive end Justin Smith, who will sit this one out with an elbow injury.
Seattle meanwhile has a bit more on the line than their Sunday night opponents. The Seahawks must win to get into the post-season, and can clinch a spot Sunday evening. They’ve been excellent at home this season, and they’ll look to finish undefeated within the friendly confines of Qwest Field. Not only would a win over the Niners give them a playoff appearance, it’d also leave the door open to potentially snagging the NFC West divisional crown next week. When the Seahawks last played the Niners in October, it wasn’t a pretty game and Seattle struggled. Now the Seahawks are playing much better football, and should be prepared for a huge outing in front of a nationally televised audience. Seattle thrashed the Bills last week in Toronto, and will look to continue that offensive momentum against a stout 49ers’ defense. The Seahawks may however have some question marks in their secondary. Cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond will be game-time decisions, while Brandon Browner remains out due to his performance-enhancing drug suspension.
49ers vs. Seahawks Betting Odds:
San Francisco 49ers +1 (+100)
@ Seattle Seahawks -1 (-120)
Over 39 (-115)
Under 39 (-105)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
49ers vs. Seahawks Pick:
This is a tough contest to pick a side on, mostly because of the fact that you don’t know what San Francisco 49ers side will show up. It won’t be easy having to travel after last week’s hugely emotional victory against New England, in what could’ve been an early Super Bowl preview. And when you also consider the fact that the Seahawks are just super dominant at home, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this contest go either way. San Francisco is the better team, but the need to win remains greater for Seattle. For those reasons, picking a winner here is too much of a coin-flip proposition. Instead, the over 39 seems like a better alternative. Both offenses have been playing much better football of late, and I expect this game to be more wide-open than most pundits would think.
San Francisco’s offense has been entirely revamped under the dynamic Colin Kaepernick. Though the former Nevada quarterback still makes mistakes, he’s young and learning, but when he’s on he can do things Alex Smith could only dream of. His threat of running from the pocket can wreak havoc on opposing defenses, and he has proven to be difficult to game-plan for. Kaepernick has a great arm, and coach Harbaugh has shown no reservation about allowing him to air it out. Going against a Seahawks defense that is riddled with injuries and uncertainty in their secondary, look for the Niners to have great success with the deep-ball on Sunday night. Add in the fact that the Seahawks simply haven’t been able to stop the run of late, and look for San Francisco to have minimal resistance in moving the chains. Frank Gore is a bruising runner and should wear down a Seattle interior that has conceded five yards per carry during their past four games.
Seattle has also been much better of late, mostly due to the emergence of their own multi-threat quarterback in Russell Wilson. The Seahawks ran all over the 49ers interior last time these two squads met, so look for another big outing for Marshawn Lynch. An established running game will ease up the pressure on Wilson, and allow the young quarterback time to find his receivers. Seattle is coming off a week that saw them put up 50, and though that was against the Bills, it’s still a good sign. This team is rolling at the moment, and their offense has a lot to do with it.
The Niners will still likely be motivated to secure a first-round bye, but their need to win just isn’t as great as it is for Seattle. That said, it’s always tough reading motivation factors, so stay away from the side, and look toward the Over 39 points. Both offenses are much improved, much more dynamic, and with the questions on both defenses, the recipe for points is certainly there. Consider the Over on Sunday night.
PICK = Over 39 (-115)