Though Week 7 has the smallest slate of games in store for the 2012 regular season, it certainly isn’t short on intriguing match-ups, and Thursday night will be no different. The eyes of the NFL will be squarely focused on what has become a huge NFC West clash between Seattle and San Francisco. The two sides enter all square at 4-2 atop the division and this game will surely play a huge role in determining which side will win the division come the end of December.
The 49ers enter this contest a bitter bunch coming off an embarrassing beating at the hands of their rivals, the New York Giants. San Francisco had that game circled on that calendar from the beginning of the season but laid the proverbial egg last Sunday and will have to make up for it in front of their hometown fans. This game kicks off three consecutive weeks that the Niners will take on an NFC West foe and a sweep of all three contests would put San Francisco in an ideal position for the final weeks of the season. On the injury front, key left tackle Joe Staley is questionable with a concussion, as is wide-out Mario Manningham.
Meanwhile, Seattle have been the masters of the late escape thus far in 2012. After squeaking out a tight victory against the Packers earlier in the season, last week’s miraculous comeback against the Patriots showed that Pete Carroll’s squad is certainly a resilient bunch. Seattle gained a season-high 368 yards last week, but against a motivated San Francisco squad those numbers will not be duplicated. As far as injuries go, look for strong safety Kam Chancellor to suit up Thursday night despite a lingering ankle injury. The Seahawks’ secondary is one of the league’s best and it will need to continue that way if they’re to have any success in their visit to San Francisco.
Seahawks vs. 49ers Spread & Betting Odds:
Seattle Seahawks +7 (-110)
@ San Francisco 49ers -7 (-110)
Over 38 (-110)
Under 38 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Seahawks vs. 49ers Pick:
If you’re looking for offense in this contest, this probably isn’t your type of game. But, if you’re a fan of hard-nosed tightly-contested football, tune in because that’s exactly what this divisional showdown will be. Both the Seahawks and 49ers are in the top-4 of total defenses in the NFL and these two play as mean as any squad in the NFL.
Though Seattle did concede 475 yards last week, going against Tom Brady and the New England offensive juggernaut is never easy. Seattle remains a fierce, ball-hawking defense, and if the Niners don’t improve their play from last week, they could be in trouble yet again.
Expect a ton of running from both teams on Thursday evening. Despite rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s recent success, Seattle still prefers to ease the kid into every game and that’ll definitely be the case against the top-ranked San Francisco defense. Seattle will be expected to ride Marshawn Lynch for all four quarters Thursday night, and though the Niners defend the run as well as any team, it’s not going to be easy for Seattle to move the football.
Conversely, for the Niners Alex Smith wasn’t all that great in Week 6 against the Giants. Unfortunately for him it’s not going to be any easier in Week 7 as the quarterback takes on one of the best secondaries in the league. Expect head coach Jim Harbaugh to steer away from a passing attack and instead look to utilize his team’s top-ranked run attack on the legs of workhorse Frank Gore. San Francisco has averaged 176.8 yards per game on the ground, and though Seattle has the second best run defense, look for the Niners to test them regularly.
Expect a very low-scoring, tightly-played affair Thursday evening from San Francisco. While both offenses possess potential, Seattle and San Francisco play great on defense and should cancel each other out with stellar play. Alex Smith and Russell Wilson aren’t the best throwers in the league, and the plethora of running plays should definitely keep the clock ticking. For those reasons, consider the Under 38 in this prime-time affair. Thirty-eight isn’t that many points, but in a contest that blatantly screams defensive struggle, it seems like the best option for this crucial divisional affair.
PICK = Under 38 (-110)