Here we go.
The San Francisco 49ers climbed over .500 with a 33-6 drubbing of the New England Patriots in Week 7. Now, the Niners are getting set for a huge divisional matchup against the first-place Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.
Seattle (5-1) lost in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals this past week, suffering its first defeat of the season. San Francisco (4-3) could be one back in the loss column if it gets a victory in the Pacific Northwest this week.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is the early-favorite for league MVP this season. Wilson has been dominant over six games, completing 71.2 of his passes for 1,890 yards while adding 237 yards on the ground. His 22 touchdown passes are tied for an NFL record through six games, and his 119.5 passer rating is tops in the NFL.
Seattle’s offense has been dominant this season. The unit leads the NFL averaging 425.2 yards per game and is ranked No. 1 in DVOA by Football Outsiders. Receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have helped the Seahawks have the second-best passing offense in the league.
Despite being ranked as one of the worst offensive lines coming into the 2020 season, the Seahawks have held up well in protection. The unit’s adjusted sack rate is 5.1%, tied for the ninth-best in the NFL. Wilson’s elusiveness is a factor in the team only giving up eight sacks in six contests this season.
San Francisco can take a page out of the Cardinals’ book to get to Wilson this week. Arizona regularly blitzed on third down and used various looks to pressure the quarterback, finishing with two sacks and nine QB hits. Wilson’s adjusted yards per attempt was 6.26 in the Cardinals’ loss, his lowest of the season.
Seattle will be without starting running back Chris Carson on Sunday, who is week-to-week with a sprained foot. Veteran Carlos Hyde will get the call, which is a downgrade for the offense. The Seahawks are 12th in the NFL, averaging 129.5 yards per game.
The 49ers should be able to take advantage of a poor Seattle defense. The Seahawks are giving up a league-worst 479.2 yards per game. Football Outsiders had the unit ranked 26th in defensive DVOA.
Seattle is expected to get All-Pro safety Jamal Adams back this week, which should help an anemic pass rush. The Seahawks are tied for the fourth-fewest sacks in the league with just nine total on the season. Seattle’s defense blitzes 24.9% of the time and ranks in the bottom third of the league in hurry and pressure percentage.
This bodes well for the Niners’ offensive line, which has looked very good over the past two games. Head coach Kyle Shanahan will exploit the Seahawks’ defensive shortcomings by using a similar game plan as he did against the Patriots to dominate the line of scrimmage. Arizona got the ball in its playmakers’ hands, who were able to gain yards after the catch, something the Niners thrive at.
This game could very high scoring with both teams featuring dynamic offenses. San Francisco and Seattle played two instant classics last season, and this one could very well come down to the wire.