The long slog of the 2016 regular season is officially set to come to a close. The San Francisco 49ers close out the season hosting the Seattle Seahawks at 1:25 p.m. PT on Sunday, January 1. The game airs on FOX and kicks off at 1:25 p.m. PT. Joe Davis and Brady Quinn are calling the game from the booth, and Shannon Spake will be checking in from the sideline.
It’s been a long, ugly season for the 49ers. They are currently 2-13, with the Los Angeles Rams the only team the 49ers have been able to beat this year. There have been some positive moments this season, but the overwhelming majority of the time, it’s been some ugly, ugly football. The offseason is a long slog in its own right, but after the past 16 weeks, a break from watching this team will be kind of nice. We won’t get a break from 49ers news, with Trent Baalke potentially getting fired when the season ends, but at least maybe we can hit the reset button.
The 49ers managed a win last week, with Colin Kaepernick leading the team on two fourth quarter scoring drives, and then converting a two-point conversion in the final minute to win the game. They now face a Seahawks team that has alternated wins and losses and is stumbling along toward the playoffs. Seattle is currently third in the NFC playoff race, and needs a win coupled with a Falcons loss to move up to No. 2 and claim a critical bye. If they do not get that bye week, their odds of going on the road and winning in the divisional round and potentially the conference championship game are incredibly difficult.
The 49ers will be playing this game with yet another change to their offensive line. Center Marcus Martin will miss his second straight game, and left guard Andrew Tiller will also be absent, while left tackle Joe Staley is expected to return. Zane Beadles is likely to remain at center, while either rookie UDFA Alex Balducci or in-season signing Andrew Gardner will start at left guard. There will be plenty of questions for the interior of this line against a tough Seahawks defensive line.
The Seahawks will be without running back C.J. Prosise, but have Thomas Rawls back in the picture. Safety Earl Thomas and wide receiver Tyler Lockett are absent as well. Those are big issues come playoff time, but I just don’t see it being a huge issue on Sunday. The absence of Thomas could open the door for the 49ers to try some deep shots, but otherwise, the disparity in talent is just too significant.
The 49ers enter this game as a nine point underdog. They have failed to cover the spread against the Seahawks 11 straight games. They won three of those games, but have not covered the spread since their 33-17 season-opening win in 2011. They were a six-point favorite, and the cover came thanks to back-to-back touchdown returns by Ted Ginn. Considering the Seahawks have something to play for, and the 49ers are dealing with all sorts of injuries (and general ineptness), a cover seems highly unlikely in their final game.
Nuts and bolts
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Game time: Sunday, January 1, 1:25 p.m. PT
TV channel: FOX
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass
Radio: 810-AM, 107.7 (Ted Robinson, Tim Ryan) | Full listings
Spanish Radio: KTRB 860-AM (Jesus Zarate, Luis Landero/Gabriel Sotelo)
Matchup history: 15-21
Announcers: Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Shannon Spake
Enemy blog: Field Gulls
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Week 1: vs. Los Angeles Rams - 28-0 WIN
Week 2: @ Carolina Panthers - 46-27 LOSS
Week 3: @ Seattle Seahawks - 37-18 LOSS
Week 4: vs. Dallas Cowboys - 24-17 LOSS
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals - 33-21 LOSS
Week 6: @ Buffalo Bills - 45-16 LOSS
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 34-17 LOSS
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: vs. New Orleans Saints - 41-23 LOSS
Week 10: @ Arizona Cardinals - 23-20 LOSS
Week 11: vs. New England Patriots - 30-17 LOSS
Week 12: @ Miami Dolphins - 31-24 LOSS
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears - 26-6 LOSS
Week 14: vs. New York Jets - 23-17 LOSS
Week 15: @ Atlanta Falcons - 41-13 LOSS
Week 16: @ Los Angeles Rams - 22-21 WIN
Week 17: vs. Seattle Seahawks, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, January 1