For the third week in a row, the San Francisco 49ers are underdogs. For the first time in three weeks, it’s deserved. The Niners will always be a bad matchup for the Rams the way the two teams are currently constructed. The Patriots are no longer the Patriots and had no business being favored over the 49ers.
This week, San Francisco will travel north to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, who, like the Niners, lost to the Cardinals. That game was further proof that anything goes in these divisional games. That statement rings true for this game, as evidenced by the history between these two teams. You never know what is going to happen when the 49ers and Seahawks are on the field.
Take 2019, for example. San Francisco jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first matchup and didn’t score against until the fourth quarter after drops and injuries. Who scored that fourth-quarter touchdown? DeForest Buckner, of course.
This week’s NFL odds have the 49ers as 3.5-point underdogs against their rivals heading into Sunday. One area that seems to catch every team off guard is the Niners team speed. I asked Pete Carroll about the challenges the 49ers speed presents for the Seahawks. Here’s what he said:
“There’s no replacement for speed in football. The faster, the better. They have certainly have continued to find guys that can fly. Particularly in the running back spots, it really shows up. on the back end of the defense, guys can really scoot. There’s nothing like it. That’s been the battle cry in ball coaching as far as I can remember. You always want to be able to run like crazy, and certainly, their team speed shows that.”
That speed at the running back position has allowed the Niners to have the ninth-most runs over 20 yards this season. This is a game where San Francisco must take advantage of the lapses that have taken place in Seattle’s secondary. They’ve allowed the fourth-most explosive passing plays on defense this season.
Last week, we said the game would be decided by which quarterback turns the ball over less. Jimmy Garoppolo’s turnover didn’t come back to bite the team, whereas Cam Newton’s resulted in multiple scores for the Niners. This week, the tables have turned. The offense will need the Garoppolo from Week 17 of last year, where he was firing on all cylinders, throwing the ball on time, and giving elevating the talent around him. Luckily for Jimmy, the Seahawks defense will give him every opportunity to do so.
The total on this game is 53.5, so Vegas is expecting a 28-25 Seahawks win.