The San Francisco 49ers wrap up their 2020 NFL regular season with a home game against the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback C.J. Beathard made his first start in more than two years last week and helped the Niners defeat the Arizona Cardinals.
San Francisco played Seattle last year’s regular-season finale, but the stakes aren’t nearly as high this time around. The 49ers are 6-9, and this game will impact their draft positioning. It will depend on what happens around the league, but we will have a clearer picture of where the Niners will be selected after this contest.
As has been the case in the major of their games this season, the 49ers will be without two of their best offensive players. Left tackle Trent Williams and receiver Brandon Aiyuk will miss the contest due to injuries.
Here are the predictions for Week 17 from Niners Nation contributors:
Kyle Posey: Since Week 8, the Seahawks are sixth in the NFL in defensive success rate, which is one spot behind the 49ers. Seattle’s job will be much easier on Sunday as the 49ers will be without two of their best offensive players in Brandon Aiyuk and Trent Williams. C.J. Beathard will have his hands full as he’ll be throwing to Richie James, Kendrick Bourne, and River Cracraft. Thankfully for C.J., he’ll have George Kittle, who might have 27 targets in this game.
On the other side of the ball, it’d be difficult for the secondary to play worse than they did against Seattle in the previous matchup where DK Metcalf looked superhuman. Emmanuel Moseley won’t be targeted double-digit times this game. Instead, it’s up to Jason Verrett and Ahkello Witherspoon to slow down a Seahawks passing attack that’s effective, but it hasn’t been the same as it was earlier in the season. Then again, who knows how the 49ers pass rush will affect Russell Wilson.
Both teams struggle to run the ball. One team struggles to throw the ball, and it’s not the home team. A Beathard mistake is your difference in this one.
Kyle’s prediction: Seattle 23, 49ers 14
Rob Guerrera: Even with the stakes being far lower than they were a year ago, I still get juiced up for a game against the Seahawks. There are too many old wounds there to pass this off as a meaningless game.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for the 49ers without so many weapons, but we’ve seen Kyle Shanahan pull magic out of his hat before. I expect a lot of safe; short passes for Beathard and a heavy diet of George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk.
Defensively, the 49ers will do enough to make it respectable, but with Seattle playing for a possible bye next week, they’ll be looking for blood. I think Russ is going to look deep early and often - especially in the direction of Ahkello Witherspoon. The game could depend on whether his solid play the last two weeks continues.
Rob’s prediction: Seattle 28, 49ers 17
Jas Kang: A year ago, this was the matchup of Week 17, but injuries have killed any hope of a return trip to the Super Bowl for San Francisco. Beathard did well protecting the ball last week as the 49ers’ running attack got going with running back Jeff Wilson Jr. tearing up Arizona for 200 total yards. I am interested to see how the Niners’ defense will respond in what could be Robert Saleh’s last game as defensive coordinator. The Seahawks could clinch home-field advantage with a win and losses by the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. The league scheduled all three games featuring the top-three NFC teams for the afternoon window. If the Packers and Saints are up big, I can see Pete Carroll resting his starters in the second half to keep them fresh for next weekend’s playoff game. Without Williams and Aiyuk, the 49ers will struggle to move the ball in the first half but will make it close late.
Jas’ prediction: Seahawks win, 26-21