2019 has been a phenomenal season for the San Francisco 49ers. Not many people had this team pegged to be anywhere near as dominant as they have been. From a historic defensive output in the first half of the season to the explosive offensive performance in the second half of the season.
As great as this season has been for the 49ers, it can all be for naught if they do not take care of business in Seattle on Sunday. The NFC west has been such a tight race. Even though the 49ers were great this season, the disparage between them and Seattle wasn’t much. The Seahawks are in a prime position to knock the 49ers down to the No. 5 seed as a Wild Card, which would be a disappointing finish for the red and gold. Entering the playoffs as a Wild Card is essentially a write-in that the 49ers will not be making a trip to Miami. Wild card teams have very little success of making it, which is why defeating the Seattle Seahawks is crucial.
A first-round bye playoff berth as the No. 1 seed is on the line for the San Francisco 49ers. The pressure has never been higher for this team nor Kyle Shanahan since losing Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots. Nerves could get to the 49ers who are the road team. This game is being played in primetime on Sunday night football with the entire nation glued to the television for this game. The pressure is absolutely tremendous for all of these reasons and the fact that the 49ers have not won at CenturyLink Field since 2011 (including playoffs).
Seattle has owned San Francisco at their house. A win for the 49ers would not only give them an easy path to the Super Bowl, but to wash away a losing history. Kyle Shanahan has a chance to be etched in 49ers lore with this win that can propel them to a serious run.
It will not be easy by any measure. Rather it will be their most difficult task ever, at least in that moment it will feel like it. The last time these two teams met in week 10, it went down to the wire. San Francisco fell to Seattle, which ultimately was a poor game on the 49ers end. From the atrocious pass protection to the multiple dropped passes. The 49ers just did not want to win that game.
However, this game will definitely be different.
This time around the 49ers will have star player George Kittle who was absent in week 10. Not having him active had the 49ers sorely missing his impact. And although he was active to start the game, Emmanuel Sanders will also be in play for this game after exiting the initial matchup early. As much as the 49ers constantly shot themselves in the foot, there did end up being a lot of positives from that game.
The defense contained Russell Wilson, who was a front-runner for MVP at the time, to an average game. Even their great rushing attack with Chris Carson wasn’t too effective. And although Marshawn Lynch is now in the fold (Carson out for the year), his presence hardly changes the approach to plan around Seattle’s offense. Lynch and Carson are essentially the same type of running back, making his addition a moot point.
What isn’t a moot point is the absence of offensive tackle Duane Brown and potentially safety Quandre Diggs. The Seahawks will be weakened on their offensive line, which is a lucky break for the 49ers who have lost a plethora of players on the defensive line. Backup Jarmarco Jones is now slated to go against Nick Bosa who could finally have a breakthrough sacking the quarterback. Still, Wilson is not going to just sit back there and take it. The defensive game plan is critical on Robert Saleh’s end.
As for Diggs, he was arguably the second best player for the Seahawks in week 10 and he is likely going to be inactive. Regardless, everyone must have attention to detail and not overlook the little things. They must not feel at ease because a couple of key players will be missing from the opposition.
Once again, a very necessary first-round bye is at stake and essentially the season. Winning this game will leap frog the San Francisco 49ers two steps away from the Super Bowl. A loss, however, significantly decreases their chances of hoisting the Lombardi trophy. Given how the last game went in week 10, the 49ers can and should defeat the Seahawks. It’ll be a task like no other, but it is something that they achieve to becoming NFC west division champions.
Final: 49ers 31 Seahawks 28