Seahawks & 49ers In NFC West Showdown Thursday Night
By: Michael Robinson
Monday, October 15, 2012
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are dealing with very different emotions as they get ready for their NFC West battle on Thursday Night Football.
The Don Best Pro Odds have just released NFL Week 7. San Fran is a 7-point favorite after opening at 7½. The total is easiest the lowest of the week at 37½ and the NFL Network will broadcast at 8:20 p.m. (ET) from Candlestick Park.
The 49ers (-300) are still solid favorites to win the division over Seattle (+375) and Arizona (+700) despite all three teams having an identical 4-2 record.
San Francisco (4-2 against the spread) has to be extremely deflated after a 26-3 loss to the Giants in Week 6 as 7-point home favorites. That was supposed to be a revenge game after losing to the G-Men in the NFC title game last year, but it wasn’t close with quarterback Alex Smith throwing three interceptions.
Smith had a league-leading 108.7 quarterback rating before last game. It’s now down to 96.6 (ranked seventh). He’ll be under a lot of pressure to rebound this week as there’s still a question whether he’s a championship level quarterback. Smith is dealing with a sprained finger which he claims isn’t bothering him, but it needs to be watched.
Coach Jim Harbaugh is a master motivator and will need to get his guys quickly refocused with the short rest. The 49ers had beaten their previous two opponents (Jets, Buffalo) by a combined score of 79-3 and were thought to be invincible by some. That’s no longer the case.
San Francisco is 10-3 SU and 10-2-1 ATS at home under Harbaugh’s regime, with two of the SU and ATS defeats coming versus the Giants.
The Seahawks (4-2 ATS) are at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum after a 24-23 comeback win over New England as 3½-point home ‘dogs. They scored two touchdowns in the final 7:21 to storm back from a 23-10 deficit.
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson showed tremendous poise late and finished 16-of-27 for 293 yards, three TDs and no picks. The team was fortunate that New England shot itself in the foot after winning the total yardage battle (475-368) and time of possession (34-26 minutes).
Seattle had previously relied on a strong running attack led by Marshawn Lynch. However, he was shut down by the Pats (41 yards on 15 carries) and will likely be limited again by San Fran’s ninth-ranked rushing ‘D’ (92.7 YPG). Harbaugh’s stop unit will also be playing angry after allowing its first 100-yard rusher (116 to Ahmad Bradshaw) this season.
If Lynch is shut down, then it will be up to Wilson (85.6 rating, ranked 18th) to step up again. He was able to use his legs to create time against New England in the pocket and then make big plays downfield. However, San Fran’s defense is more disciplined and has a much better secondary.
Defensively, the Seahawks were really hurt by Tom Brady and the spread passing attack. He threw it 58 times for 395 yards, but they’ll see a much more traditional offense this Thursday which works in Seattle’s favor.
Pete Carroll’s defense ranks tied-for-sixth in the league in sacks (17) even after only getting to Brady once. He will dial up the pressure as San Fran has allowed 18 sacks this year (six last week) and left tackle Joe Staley is questionable with a concussion.
Seattle (15.5 PPG) and San Francisco (15.7 PPG) rank second and third respectively in scoring defense even after the higher amounts last week. That’s why this week’s total is so low.
The 49ers won both contests versus the Seahawks last year, including 33-17 as 6-point home favorites in Week 1. They’re 3-0 SU and ATS in the last three home meetings overall, easily going ‘over’ the last two.