Like two beat up gun fighters from the Wild West facing each other on the blood stained streets of Laredo, the Seattle Seahawks are set to match up against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday. One has been winning exhausting shootouts with the reliance of the quickest most accurate gun in the West but is feeling the residual bumps and bruises received from not being able to handily put any opponent away. The other has been thrown through bar windows, punched in the face, and dragged by horse through dusty streets, only to survive this abuse with a gritty determination that would make any sharp shooter leery.
These two hate each other. They know each other, and they want to put each other away. While they see weakness in the other, they also understand the strength each other possesses. While they can each boast confidence in beating the other, in the back of their minds, they both fully know how capable the other is, and there is a degree of concern over who and what they face. Both need to bring their A game in this match.
Here is my break downs and prediction.
Seahawks beat the 49ers by..
Russell Wilson cooking up a winning recipe. The 49er defense has statistically played the pass pretty well, but Russ has lit up a defense that has statistically played it better in the New England Patriots defense. He stayed patient against that defense taking what it was giving in zone, and he found ways to beat its man coverage. The 49ers are heading into this game a bit thin at corner and safety, and I think Seattle will look to take advantage of that with their star receiving duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Also don’t be surprised if Russ starts getting rolling with his legs more as the game wears on. Here is a fascinating stat tied to Russell Wilson’s career; he’s an astounding 31-8 following a loss. Having lost a close one to the Cardinals Sunday night, history favors Russell in this one. Let Russ cook.
DK Metcalf has a big bounce back game. Tyler Lockett had an ridiculously productive game against the Cardinals, hauling in 15 catches for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. It is likely that the 49ers are going to be paying attention to him knowing how hot he is and that Seattle is particularly banged up at running back and Russell needs to throw a lot in this match. If they put extra attention on Lockett, San Francisco doesn’t really have a physical corner to match up to Metcalf. If Russell is cooking in this game, expect a heavier dose of DK.
DJ Dallas has a good bounce back game at running back. The rookie runner has taken some heat this week about how he performed at the end of the Cardinal game, not securing a key blitz at the end when he was suddenly tossed into the mix. I have more faith in Dallas. He was noted as a good pass protector in college, and he will have had a week of preparation to potentially be the guy in this game. I also think he is a much better runner than Travis Homer in Seattle’s style of offense, and he is a really good pass catcher. The 49ers have been middle of the round defending the run this year. With a lot of anticipation that Seattle might throw a lot in this one with its injured running back situation, the 49ers may not honor the run as much in this game, and don’t be surprised if Dallas has some explosive plays on draws and screens.
Seahawks get a big boost on their defense just in time. With the 49ers as reliant as they are running the ball, this is a good game to finally get defensive tackle Snacks Harrison active, isn’t it? There’s been a lot of chatter this week about star linebacker Bobby Wagner looking like he has lost a step. I want to see how Bobby plays when he has Snacks in front of him being disruptive and soaking up double teams. I don’t think Bobby has had the luxury of staying clean as a linebacker in quite some time. Jarran Reed and Poona Ford are not space eaters at defensive tackle. Snacks Harrison is exactly that. If he plays, I would expect Bobby to play better, and I would expect KJ Wright and rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks to continue having good efforts against the run.
Seahawk defenders force Jimmy Garoppolo into key mistakes. Seahawks won’t be getting recently traded for pass rusher Carlos Dunlap for this game due to Covid precautions, but I would expect that trade to perhaps light a fire with other pass rushers. Benson Mayowa has been playing his ass off through six games, and knowing that Seattle traded for a guy likely to eventually spell him as a starter, he might come into this game with a little extra juice off the edge. Expect Seattle to play rookie edge rusher Alton Robinson more in this one knowing Jimmy G isn’t Kyler Murray and they don’t have to use rush linebacker Shaquem Griffin as a spy. I’m not going to suggest that these guys light up the stat board with sacks, but the two things that Seattle’s defense has done through six games is playing against the run and creating turnovers. San Francisco runs the ball and their quarterback tends to turn the ball over. This could be a good match for Seattle’s defense here. I think there is a decent chance Seattle will get to Garoppolo just enough to create turnovers. The key will be taking advantage of them when they come.
Seattle loses this game to San Francisco because..
They can’t stay healthy enough at running back, lose too much balance on offense, and the 49er defenders are successful keying on Russell Wilson in the pass game. Make no mistake, Seattle is entering into this game scary thin at running back. Carlos Hyde will not play. Chris Carson will be a game time decision with a sore foot, and Travis Homer will be as well with a bruised knee. My hunch is that at least Homer will give it a go simply because he finally got a limited amount of practice in on Friday. Ideally, Carson would sit out this one, but he might push to play, and Seattle might decide to use him a bit because they are really only down to one healthy back in DJ Dallas. If injury happens to Dallas in this one, and Homer and Carson can’t go, Seattle might be forced to play a receiver like David Moore at running back. Also, a tight end might be forced to be a third down back with no threat to run. This could easily invite the 49er defense to send the house at Russell Wilson each time he passes. It could get scary in this scenario.
Seattle’s defense can not stop the running game trickery of the 49er offense. The 49ers rely on miss direction and deception in their run game to take advantage of defenders over committing. The Seattle linebackers and secondary players must stay disciple in their reads and assignments. They must trust each other. Everything San Francisco does with their pass game is built off of the run. If they have success on the ground, chances are that they will have success in the air with George Kittle at tight end, even though they are thin at receiver. This is a hug key to the game.
My prediction is..
Seahawks win this game in a battle of gritty determination, 34-30.
Russell Wilson will be extremely focused and determined in this match. He will get just enough of support in the run game from rookie runner DJ Dallas to force the 49er defenders to play honest. I also think their could be some trickery at play with jet sweeps from receivers like David Moore, and I think Russell will find ways to make the 49ers pay with his legs. I think DK Metcalf will have a bigger game.
Defensively, I think it will be another mixed bag, at best, for Seattle. They might be hyper focused to take away the run, and that could leave them exposed just enough in coverage for George Kittle to take advantage. If Seattle should surprisingly have star safety Jamal Adams active, this would be a big bonus, but I’m not expecting that. Therefore, I think San Francisco will probably move the ball and they will find their points, but in doing that Jimmy Garoppolo will make his share of mistakes against an opportunistic Seattle defense, and the game comes down to which quarterback is sharper.
I expect it to be Seattle’s.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! You were close but no cigar! Seahawks win! GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ll take it. Go Hawks!