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The streaking Seattle Seahawks (11-1, 5-1 away) will travel to face the San Francisco 49ers (8-4, 4-2 home) at 4:25 ET on Sunday. Seattle will look to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss to the 49ers while locking down the NFC West and a first-round BYE. A win would be the sixth of the year on the road, which would tie a franchise record. Meanwhile, the 49ers are fighting to maintain their position as the NFC's second wild card team. They have won seven of their last nine contests. These archrivals meet in a game that could be a preview of a future playoff matchup. These teams met in Week 2 with Seattle taking down a 29-3 win.
Despite a nearly spotless record, the Seahawks are just a 2.5 point favorites. The action is fairly balanced at the worlds largest sportsbook, sportsbook.com, with 54% of the action thus far coming in on the Sehawwks while 66% of the wagers on the total have come in on the Over.
Second year QB Colin Kaepernick leads the way for the 49ers. He has 65.4 CMP% with four TDs and 0 INTs over the last two weeks. He will compete against a SeaHawks secondary that ranks best in the NFL, giving up just 177.3 YPG. Kaepernick is also an effective runner, with 376 YDs and 3 TDs on the ground. TE Vernon Davis (42 REC, 705 YDs, 10 TDs) and WR Anquan Bouldin (61 REC, 822 YDs, 5 TDs) are Kaepernicks go-to targets.
RB Frank Gore will get much of the offensive load. He ranks 10th in the NFL in YDs (821 YDs) and 5th in TDs (5). The Miami (Fla.) alum will be tasked with bludgeoning through a Seattle defensive front that is 13th strongest in the NFL. San Francisco's ability to keep the chains moving and operate effectively in goal-to-go situations will be a huge factor in this game. Gore will have to do better than his 9 ATT, 16 YDs effort when these teams met earlier this year. In the 2012 meeting between these teams in San Francisco, Gore had 131 YDs on 16 attempts. An effort closer to that one would make the 49ers a tough team to defeat.
Fellow sophomore QB Russell Wilson (108.5 RAT, 2,672 YDs, 22 TDs) leads the Seattle offensive charge. His numbers have been off the charts in the past three weeks (141.86 RAT, 827 YDs, 7 TDs) leading his team to an average PPG total of 36. He doesn't do it alone though; RB Marshawn Lynch (4.3 AVG, 970 YDs, 9 TDs) is playing as good as ever. Their job won't be easy as the 49ers are very stellar on defense and rank among the nation's best (3rd OPP Passing YDs, 11th OPP Rushing YDs). Defensive pressure is going to be key for the 49ers; they have to get to Russell Wilson to have a chance in this game.
The Seahawks are likely Super Bowl bound. Providing they get home field throughout the playoffs, they're going to be almost impossible to take down at home. (sportsbooks agree as you can only get +260 on Seattle to win the Super Bowl). However, even though they have just 1 loss on the year, it's on the road that they become vulnerable. Their wins on the road aren't nearly as impressive as their home wins and in fact they just barely squeaked by a few teams that at or near the bottom of the NFL.
This looks to be the ideal setup for the 49ers. They catch Seattle off a big time emotional win over the Saints last week and they also are in payback mode for the thumping the Seahawks put un them earlier in the year in Seattle.
What makes the play attractive is that when you take into account this entire season statistically, and throw out the win/loss records, you're looking at two teams that statistically are very even. Their yards per point numbers are basically dead even. Very slight edge to San Fran actually. Seattle has the 2nd ranked scoring offense at 28 points per game, San Fran is 9th at 25. They are tied for 2nd in points allowed with each allowing 16 points per game on average. Seattle ranks 2nd rushing the football, San Fran 7th. They are both in the bottom 3rd of the league in passing offense.
Defensively against the rush they rank 11th and 12th. Against the pass they ran 1st and 4th. Any category you want to look at, these two come up neck and neck. This looks to be a game where neither team will be able to get anything done through the air. It should be a quick, low scoring game making the under 41 worth a look.
As far as the side, we have to go with San Fran here. On a neutral field this game would be a toss up. The home field for San Fran and the lack of home field for Seattle is what likely decides this one. Our model agrees predicting a 19-19 final when using full season data but predicting 49er wins when using the last 4 games and the last 7 games. 49ers +3 -125 or better.
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