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San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks NFC West Championship Preview

What a difference a week can make, right? Happy Holidays and Happy Blue Friday, 12s, it’s that time of the week where we take a look at what the Seahawks are up against this week.

Typically, I would dig into statistics, try to analyze what the game should look like, but I really don’t see much of a point due to the injuries the Seahawks have sustained. None of the numbers will reflect what the current roster is producing, at least from a ground game perspective.

Last week, the Seahawks lost two running backs: Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise. Carson suffered a hip injury that put him on the injured reserve for the remainder of whatever happens this season. Prosise suffered a broken arm, which too, ended his season and most likely his injury-plagued tenure with the Seahawks.

The front office did make some interesting moves this week by bringing back two veteran running backs and former Seahawks who haven’t played a single snap this season: Robert Turbin and Marshawn Lynch. Honestly, I dusted off the 2013 internal memories and got hyped for a little while but then reality set in. I have zero ideas how they will fare against a tough defensive front of San Francisco, especially with a banged-up O-Line coupled with the fact these guys haven’t played in a game. The odds are not in their favor, but hopefully, the emotional aspect will drive the line, fans, and backs to another higher level of performance.

In addition to the injuries to the running backs, Duane Brown is now out for the remainder of the season due to nagging injuries that required surgery. Al Woods and Josh Gordon are suspended, Quandre Diggs is nursing an ankle sprain, and Mike Iupati is dealing with a stinger.

We do have some good news: Jadeveon Clowney said, “There is no way I’m missing this game.” Mychal Kendricks and Shaquill Griffin were full participants in practice Thursday. Therefore, the defense is healthier than they were a week ago to make that final push into a reasonable playoff position.

Speaking of playoffs, here is what needs to happen for seeding: Seattle can clinch the NFC west with a win. They can clinch a first round bye with a win and Green Bay loss. Seattle can clinch home-field advantage (you know, since they’ve played so well at home this season) with a win plus a Green Bay and New Orleans loss.

San Francisco can clinch the NFC West, first round bye, and home-field advantage with a win. They could also tie, but would need Green Bay and New Orleans to lose to obtain the latter two.

So, you better believe the Niners are going to come out guns blazing.

Losing last week to the Cardinals put the Seahawks in a tough position, but at the same time, we have to remember they’re going to the postseason. Fans of 20 other NFL teams will watch the last game of the season on Sunday—Seahawks fans aren’t one of them.

I honestly don’t know what to think of this upcoming matchup. There is a lot on the line for both teams as I just mentioned. I know Russell Wilson will have to have an excellent game under center. Last week I noticed he wasn’t scrambling like he usually does and took way too long to throw the ball. Ultimately, he was sacked multiple times, which stopped any sort of momentum moving forward. The San Fran secondary is pretty elite so errant passes cannot be made.

Defensively, the Seahawks are in a lot better shape than last. Jadeveon Clowney had one heck of a game against the last meeting of these two teams. Rasheem Green, Ziggy Ansah, and Clowney could be the momentum shift this team needs to get through this week. Jimmy Garappolo, when under duress, made some mistakes I think the Seahawks must capitalize on.

The Seahawks have fallen victim to screens, sweeps, and TE check-downs this season. If SF begins this game plan, like the Rams, it will be tough to come back from. They must stop the 49ers on third down. Conversely, the 49ers have one of the lowest defensive third-down conversion allowances. So, expect that not to change against Seattle who is about average league-wide on third down.

I’m not expecting a high scoring game. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a kicker shootout. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but, you know…I wouldn’t be surprised.

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