The San Francisco 49ers are back to a winning record and it’s been a long road to get here. Who’s up next? Of course the Seattle Seahawks, who are losers of their past 3 and sit at 3-8 on the season. But any 49ers fan will tell you the records don’t matter when it comes to the Seahawks in Seattle.
The 49ers have a chance to make a statement and really insert themselves into contender conversation if they can take care of business on the road in a tough divisional matchup. Here’s what to watch:
Best Case Scenario: The 49ers will have to win this ballgame by sticking to their game plan and handing the ball off to Elijah Mitchel over and over. They will control the clock and cruise to an easy victory behind 150-plus rush yards from Mitchell.
The 49ers have been carried by the run game during their current three game win streak. The 49ers will be missing their MVP Deebo Samuel but they have more than enough weapons to make up for it against the struggling Seahawks. The key is to milk the clock and get out to an early lead so Jimmy Garoppolo can play with a lead as that’s when he’s most effective. Look for George Kittle to get involved early with some screens and play action targets. Garoppolo will throw for modest numbers but won’t be asked to win the game which is the 49ers recipe for success.
The Seahawks offense has seen an uptick with the return of Russell Wilson but let’s face it, they can’t run the football and this will play right into the 49ers’ game plan. This will allow the 49ers defense to play in some dime coverage with six defensive backs on the field. This will better equip them to deal with D.K Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the outside. The Seahawks lack the patience to grind out drive after drive and they will fall behind early and it will be too much to overcome.
Worst Case Scenario: The 49ers don’t come in prepared for a tough, division rivalry game and get out-physicaled. This disaster scenario will force the 49ers to rely on Garoppolo and that’s not a winning formula for them.
The 49ers must run the football successfully to control the time of possession. Garoppolo is a front runner and when he’s asked to do more than manage a game, mistakes follow and it completely leaves the 49ers defense in vulnerable positions. If Seattle stops the run game then it’s over and it can get out of hand, especially in that raucous atmosphere at Gillette Stadium. The absence of Deebo Samuel takes away the only 49ers big play threat this season and if they fall behind, they will stay behind.
The 49ers defense has seen a resurgence in recent weeks but it is a bit of a mirage. The real difference has been the time of possession and if they are forced to be out on the field for extended periods they are bound to give up a big pass play. Add in the fact that All Pro LB Fred Warner will not be in the lineup and this could be the worst defensive performance of the season for the 49ers. If you give Russell Wilson an inch he will take a mile and make you pay. Nobody better to do it against in the Seahawks mind than their hated rival, the 49ers.
Chuy’s Prediction: This has trap game written all over it but the fact that the 49ers will be missing their offensive and defensive leaders will force them to be focused. The 49ers will win a close game on the road to extend their winning streak to 4 and put an end to the Seahawks season.
The absence of Deebo Samuel is actually coming at an opportune time for the 49ers. They are playing on the road at one of the toughest places to play in the NFL and it is coming against their biggest rival. They will be locked in regardless of who’s out and while the absence of Deebo is costly, it will be overcome by the leaders of the team. I expect a solid performance by Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Trent Williams and Kyle Juszczyk on offense. The 49ers offensive game plan will be balanced and spread the ball around in creative ways to its veteran leaders.
The 49ers defense will need to step up and have a big game, Nick Bosa in particular. The Seahawks only chance in the game will be Russel Wilson throwing bombs downfield to his receiver duo. However, they will be one dimensional on offense and this will allow Bosa to tee off and rush the passer relentlessly all day long. I expect Bosa to record multiple sacks and the 49ers will get over eight QB hits on Russel Wilson.
The 49ers will get ahead early and stay ahead.
Final Score: 49ers 31 - Seahawks 18