Following the dominating performance that the 49ers put forth on Monday against Pittsburgh, the team will attempt to keep it up against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle comes into the game needing a win to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
San Francisco needs the win to keep its hopes of a first round bye hopes alive as they have the New Orleans Saints to contend with. Seattle will be relying on the 12th man crowd in trying to keep the team pumped up to really give them a chance. As has been the case most of the season the 49ers will lean on the energy of its dominating defense.
The big question facing the Seahawks is will running back Marshawn Lynch be able to get anything going against the league’s top run defense. Lynch comes into the game averaging only 4.1 yards per carry. As a whole Seattle’s offense isn’t very good, but has done well enough to get the team back to .500, and has them contending for another shot at the playoffs.
Frank Gore will again lead the attack for San Fran, who will be praying for a loss by the Saints to make life a little easier for them going into the last week of the season. A win for the 49ers and a loss by the Saints will almost lock up the first round bye and a chance to get Gore and others back to strength for the playoffs. There is also a chance that the team uses rookie back up Colin Kaepernick over the next two games in certain situations to give smith some time off.
Seattle’s defense will need to make sure it keeps San Fran’s two biggest threats, Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, in check if they want to have the game close.
It’s going to be a tough task considering that Seattle is giving up 327 total yards on defense and the 49ers average 307 per game. The Seahawks defense will also need to make sure to get pressure on Smith, who has proven if you don’t pressure him enough he has the ability to pick you apart. San Francisco will do what it does better than anyone else this season: shut down the run.
The 49ers only give up 71.5 yards on the ground per game and are the only team in NFL history to not allow a rushing touchdown through 14 games of a season. If San Fran can shut Lynch down early it will be a long day for the Seahawks, who will then have to rely on Tavaris Jackson’s arm to lead them to the win. Look for Seattle to try and come out guns blazing with the pass game to try and get some big runs set up to keep the 49ers off balance.
The question for San Fran heading into the game is did they use up all their emotion and energy Monday night? Can Seattle get a running attack going against such a stout defense?
The rule of thumb for the latter question is this; a good defense beats a good offense. In this case though it’s a great defense going against an ok offense, so this game should be blow out, however I believe the 49ers used up too much energy in the game against the Steelers, which is going to keep this game close.
Final: San Francisco 24 Seattle 21