The 49ers and their fans are no strangers to the Seattle Seahawks, a division foe they see twice a year. However, they are not as familiar with this version of the Seahawks that DraftKings Sportsbook currently has listed as an 8.5-point underdog.
With Russell Wilson gone, Geno Smith under center, and many other changes, this is not the same Seahawks team that has had the 49ers' number over the last decade.
Let's start on the offensive side of the ball. Smith is replacing a perennial pro bowler in Wilson, who has been a thorn in the 49ers' side since he came into the league. Wilson had a 16-4 career record against San Francisco during his time in Seattle, leaving some rather large shoes for Smith to fill in this rivalry.
Smith was highly efficient in his first start in week one, which ironically came against Wilson and his new team, the Denver Broncos. Smith was 23/28 for 177 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 5.9 net yards per pass attempt.
That's a drop off from the 6.3 Wilson posted in his final season in Seattle when the Seahawks were the 31st ranked passing offense in the league under the same offensive coordinator currently conducting the offense.
Smith has proven he can effectively manage a game and not be the reason his team loses, but the 49ers can breathe a sigh of relief as Smith won't cause the same headache that Wilson and his twice-annual Houdini act they have been at the mercy of over the last decade.
The Seahawks also have a new look offensive line after the departure of long-time left tackle Duane Brown who had anchored the blind side in Seattle since 2017. Rookie Charles Cross took over in his place, who Seattle selected with the 9th overall pick in the 2022 draft.
Seattle also has another rookie starting on the offensive line, with third-round pick Abraham Lucas lining up as the starting right tackle. Veteran Austin Blythe takes over the starting center job, leaving Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis as the only two returning starters from last season on the offensive line.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett still pose a formidable threat to any opposing secondary, with the duo combining for ten receptions in their week one win. Metcalf has averaged 76 yards on six receptions in his six career meetings against the 49ers but faces a new challenge in Charvarius Ward in what is poised to be an electric matchup between the two.
Shifting to the opposite side of the ball, the Seahawks have gone through some major defensive changes since they last took the field against the 49ers. Bobby Wagner is now playing for the Rams, which still feels weird to type or say out loud.
Wagner's absence is something that Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers' offense will look to take advantage of after dealing with the future hall of fame linebacker wrecking their game plan for years. Seattle also has two rookie cornerbacks starting for them, who will get put to the test early and often against a talented wide receiver corps in San Francisco.
Deebo Samuel has only played Seattle three times in his NFL career but has recorded at least five receptions and 100 yards in each of those three meetings. Samuel has averaged 134 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in his career against the Seahawks, and he will look to continue that streak on Sunday.
The Seahawks defense allowed 433 yards in Week 1 but held Denver to 16 points in large part because of their stout red zone defense that kept the Broncos out of the end zone on four trips inside the 20-yard line.
This is nothing new for Seattle, as they posted the 3rd best red zone defense in the entire NFL in 2021. If the 49ers are going to get their first win of the season, they can’t afford to settle once they get into the red zone.
Denver failed to do so and after an abnormal amount of self-inflicted mistakes via penalty, ended up dropping a game to a Seahawks squad that they outgained by nearly 200 yards. Given how the 49ers lost in Chicago in a similar fashion, discipline has to be at the forefront of the game plan as they match up with an inferior opponent on paper.
Despite the losses of Wilson and Wagner, the Seahawks are far from a pushover opponent. They beat a very good Broncos team in Week 1, and they are still a well-coached team that is capable of executing in all three phases.
Having said that, this is an entirely new opponent than the one that has given the 49ers and their fans nightmares for the last ten years, and that has to provide some relief as the 49ers look to beat the Seahawks for the first time since December of 2019.
Final Score Prediction
49ers 27 - Seahawks 16
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.