As we look forward to Week 16, the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) find themselves with yet another primetime game. Before the season began, the Sunday Night Football match-up this week was scheduled to feature the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers. For obvious reasons, this would not suffice to please football fans.
In order to prevent another nationally broadcasted Mark Sanchez disaster, the league and NBC moved to flex the 49ers-Seahawks game in its place – not that Sanchez would be starting anyway.
This will make for San Francisco’s sixth primetime game of the 2012 NFL season. The Niners have been perfect under the night-lights, going 5-0 this year.
Week 2: vs. Lions 27-19 (W)
Week 7: vs. Seahawks 13-6 (W)
Week 8: at Cardinals 24-3 (W)
Week 11: vs. Bears 32-7 (W)
Week 15: at Patriots 41-34 (W)
The team has had a number of performers that have shown up big during this set of games. The defense has played exceptional, allowing less than 20 points in four of five matches. In three of those games, they have only allowed single digit scores.
On that side of the ball, second-year linebacker Aldon Smith has been a terror for opposing offenses. In five primetime starts this year, Smith has accumulated 10 sacks, 2 FF and an interception. With two games remaining in the season, Smith is 3 sacks away from the single-season NFL sack record.
Smith should be a presence this weekend against the Seahawks, who have been rather good protecting the mobile Russell Wilson as of recent. For the Niners to continue their hot streak on primetime, No. 99 will have to be in full force.
On the offensive side of the ball, San Francisco's quarterback has emerged as a real primetime player.
Two of Colin Kaepernick's five starts have come on the big stage, where the Niners' QB has played lights out. Against the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots, Kaepernick went 30-of-48 for 6 touchdowns and one interception. In both starts, he had a 100-plus passer rating; 133.1 (CHI) and 108.5 (NE).
After last week's big win over the Patriots, San Francisco clinched a playoff spot for a second consecutive year. If the Niners pull out a win against the Seahawks in Week 16, they will become the third team in NFL history to go 6-0 on primetime in a single-season, while winning the division title and nearing another first-round bye.