The Seattle Seahawks (11-1) visit Candlestick Park Sunday to face their bitter rivals, the San Francisco 49ers (8-4). Kickoff is set for 4:25 ET on FOX.
These two squads absolutely hate each other, and there’s no doubt that this game will be exciting and vicious in the trenches. The 49ers want to further separate from Arizona in the race for the wild card, but possibly more important to San Francisco is the chance for revenge after Seattle’s defense spanked them in Week 2 on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
After back-to-back losses to the Panthers and Saints, the 49ers have bounced back and won two straight against the drowning Redskins and average Rams. Every week is crucial for the 49ers, and that coupled with their desire to stomp their rolling rivals are huge incentives to win.
Seattle, meanwhile, is coming off perhaps their best game of the year. On Monday against the Saints, Russell Wilson played like an MVP, and the Seahawks’ defense made Drew Brees look mediocre. They’ve been firing on all cylinders, playing like a complete team, especially over the last month. It’s hard to imagine what can stop them at this point.
San Francisco is certainly going to try, however. Their defense is exceptional in defending the pass, and their rushing attack is always a threat.
The Week 2 matchup was won by the Seattle defense and bruising run game. Russell Wilson didn’t have the best game, but he made just enough throws. Seattle’s defense stuffed Frank Gore and forced Colin Kaepernick into making rookie mistakes. The game this Sunday shouldn’t be too much different than the game we saw all those weeks ago. What will surely decide this game is defensive play and who can develop a running game.
The left side of the 49ers’ offensive line looks shaky, with Joe Staley and Mike Iupati questionable. Seattle’s front four look scary off the line, and San Francisco’s weakened offensive line may result in more tackles for loss and pressure on Colin Kaepernick. I’m not expecting the 49ers to move the ball effectively on the ground, even if Staley makes it out on the field, and Seattle’s Legion of Boom looks impenetrable as ever.
Seattle will once again be without Percy Harvin, but the rest of the offense remains intact. Marshawn Lynch was not very effective last Monday, as Russell Wilson accumulated more yards on the ground. The 49ers are going to be hungry off the line and hold Lynch to under 100 yards. So, if both rushing attacks are to be stifled, it all comes down to the quarterbacks.
Wilson is sizzling hot right now, and Kaepernick seems to rely more on his legs than his throwing ability. Wilson, on the other hand, has exhibited a phenomenal balance of throwing and running when he drops back. His ball distribution is also stunning. As long as Seattle’s healthy offensive line gives him a couple seconds, Wilson is going to find an open receiver. I’m predicting Wilson leads his team to victory with a long fourth quarter drive capped off with a Steven Hauschka field goal to end a vicious, defensively dominated, and relatively low-scoring game. Oh, it’s going to be a fun one to watch.