There are plenty reasons to pick the Seahawks to beat the 49ers this Sunday.
1. The Seahawks have the best record in the NFC West -- 5-1.
2. The Seahawks have the best player in the NFL -- Russell Wilson, who lost last week and rarely loses two games in a row.
3. The Seahawks are at home and the 49ers are coming off a cross-country trip to New England and could be tired.
These are valid reasons to pick Seattle. But there are even more reasons to pick the 49ers to win this Sunday. Here they are:
1. The 49ers have a better defensive coach.
That's right. Robert Saleh has surpassed Pete Carroll, the guy who gave Saleh his first quality control job in 2011. The guy who taught Saleh so much about defense. Carroll can't carry Saleh's clipboard this season. Both coaches have lots of injuries on defense, although Saleh has more injuries. And yet, Saleh's defense ranks fifth out of 32 teams while Carroll's defense ranks dead last. Carroll is an accomplished coach who hasn't evolved the past few seasons. Saleh has evolved. Carroll seems like Monte Kiffin at the end of his run.
2. The 49ers have a better run game.
The 49ers have JaMycal Hasty, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. All three would start for the Seahawks right now. The only healthy running back they currently have is a rookie named DeeJay Dallas who has two career carries and can't block. Meaning Russell Wilson is the Seahawks' only healthy rushing threat. So if the 49ers contain him, Seattle will be one-dimensional. And the 49ers are not one-dimensional.
3. The 49ers have lots of practice defending Russell Wilson and quarterbacks like him.
The 49ers have had so much practice containing mobile quarterbacks this season. They've faced Kyler Murray, Carson Wentz and Cam Newton. Plus, they face Wilson twice every season. Last season, they limited Wilson to a 91.3 quarterback rating -- nothing special. They will contain him in the pocket and force him to throw short, quick passes by blitzing him. They'll make him be a distributor instead of a playmaker who buys time and throws deep touchdown passes.
4. The 49ers have more than enough weapons on offense to exploit the Seahawks 32-ranked defense.
The 49ers won't have Deebo Samuel, but they still have Brandon Aiyuk who can do everything Samuel does and more.
The 49ers won't have Raheem Mostert or Jeffery Wilson, but they still have Hasty who's fantastic.
As long as the 49ers have Hasty, Aiyuk, George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk, they have more than enough weapons to exploit any defense, let alone the worst defense in the league. The 49ers just have to make sure those four players get the majority of the touches.
And then, throw a couple passes to Ross Dwelley. The 49ers' backup tight end has five catches on five targets for 54 yards and three first downs this season, and yet the 49ers haven't thrown him a pass since Week 3. This week needs to be Dwelley time.
5. The 49ers have a quarterback who knows he can win in Seattle.
That's a big deal. As well as Colin Kaepernick played for the 49ers when they were good, he never won in Seattle.
The 49ers went eight years between wins in Washington state. Then, Garoppolo won in Seattle Week 17 last season. It was one of his best performances on the 49ers.
Now he gets to go up there again and face a defense with no pass rush, and a team with no home crowd. Meaning Garoppolo should have an even better game in Seattle than he did last season.
Which means the 49ers should win.
Final score: 49ers 24, Seahawks 23.