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Seahawks at 49ers: A preview

Hello Fellow 12s! It is getting down to crunch time for the Seattle Seahawks and their hopes for a playoff appearance.

This week, Seattle faces off against a tough San Francisco team who is atop the NFC Western Division. I am expecting a wild game between Russell Wilson and company taking on the defense led by Richard Sherman and their league leading defense. Seattle fans could see a few new faces on the field with Quandre Diggs and Josh Gordon making it through practices this week.

This should be a good one.

I am going to dig deep into offensive and defensive statistics for both teams. Here is my take in an excerpt from the Cascadia Sports round table published Friday where you can read here.

I say let us look at some stats. Let us start with passing and receiving. Defensively, San Francisco ranks first in the league with pass defense only allowing 169 yards per game on average. Offensively, Seattle ranks 9th in the league in passing yards per game and 10th in receiving averaging 278 yards per game. The Seahawks have only faced one top 10-pass defense this season against the Browns, where Russ threw for 275 to 10 different targets. Therefore, I would not expect a 250+ yard outing from Russell Wilson against a stout 49ers’ secondary. However, if Josh Gordon is available, I wonder if this will spread the defense from doubling Tyler Lockett with an additional threat in Gordon. Heck, I will even go to say that Hollister is a threat down the seam. Defensively for the Seahawks, as mentioned they rank in the bottom 5 allowing nearly 290 receiving yards per game. Offensively, the 49ers only pass for about 219 yards per game on average.  

Let’s look at rushing: Defensively, the Seahawks allow nearly 103 yards rushing per game to opposing teams. Offensively, the 49ers rank second in the league rushing for an average of 171 yards per game. Defensively, San Francisco ranks dead center in league rankings when it comes to rushing defense allowing 103 yards per game. Offensively, Seattle is a top ten rushing team averaging over 130 yards per game. The Seahawks faced off against the top rated rushing defense in Tampa and still managed to put up 145 rushing yards. Before the game, Tampa was allowing an average of 68 rushing yards per game. However, my personal thought is that by opting to throw the ball first, instead of rushing, it opened up the opportunity of rushing against Tampa. 

Now I am going to break it down even further. Yes, the 49ers are 8-0. However they have faced pretty weak opponents this season. They thus far, they have played Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, The Rams, Washington, Carolina, and Arizona. All these teams are in the bottom 50% with regards to points allowed per game and all but Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are in the bottom 50% with total yards allowed per game. Therefore, they’re playing teams that will allow them to move the ball downfield and score. Unfortunately, Seattle, too, is in the bottom 50% in those categories.

Seattle has faced two tough opponents this season with Baltimore and New Orleans. They were still able to push the ball downfield and score, however, ball handling mistakes and defensive miscues were a contributing factor to those losses.

I would expect Seattle to go back to their roots of running first. This means Chris Carson must secure the football. However, San Francisco has sacked quarterbacks 30 times this season, which could inhibit running room. Nick Bosa has seven sacks, and Arik Armstead and Dee Ford have 5.5 sacks each. I would expect many screen passes this match-up and a few scramble miracles from Russ, otherwise there will not be a whole lot of offense for Seattle this game. San Francisco’s defensive front will likely be too much for a degraded Seahawks OLine to handle.

Injuries going into this weekend are significant for both teams. Players who did not participate in practice Thursday: T Duane Brown, DE Jadeveon Clowney, C Joey Hunt. Notable limited participants were RB Chris Carson, CB Quandre Diggs, WR Josh Gordon, S Lano Hill, TE Luke Willson, and LB K.J. Wright.

For San Francisco, non participants include K Robbie Gould and TE George Kittle while Matt Brieda was limited. San Francisco has picked up rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin to fill in for a doubtful Gould. The knee and ankle injury to George Kittle is a tough blow to the 49ers offense, which could be the edge Seattle needs to come out on top.

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