With the NFL playoff picture coming to fruition as the season comes to an end, very few expected the Seattle Seahawks to challenge the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West crown. The majority of NFL pundits and fans alike, including myself, expected nothing more than a sub-par .500 team. However, with two games left in the season, the Seahawks find themselves 1.5 games out of first place and very much in playoff contention.
The NFL realizing the importance of this week’s game between the 49ers and Seahawks decided to exercise their “flexible schedule policy” enforcing the game to be moved to Sunday Night Football. It will mark the first time the Niners play back-to-back Sunday Night games since its inception in 2006.
So how will the 49ers prepare for their upcoming rival?
We all know both teams can light up the scoreboard, with the Seahawks outscoring their opponents 108-17 in their last two games. But this game will be won down in the trenches, in a defensive struggle.
The last time these two teams played, the only thing that lit up, was offensive players. It was one of the most physical games I have ever witnessed, as both teams punched each other in the mouth, like a UFC fight. 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh had this to say (via USA Today), “That was the most physical 3o minutes of football in the second half that I have ever seen our football team play. It was a real football fight, and our guys won it.”
With the 49ers winning the game 13-6, they will now have to duplicate that performance and face a much more confident Seattle Seahawks squad in the hostile environment of CenturyLink Field.
However, the 49ers are also a very different team than the Seahawks saw in Week 7. For starters, the Niners are riding a new quarterback with Colin Kaepernick. Since Kaepernick took over the reigns, he has led the 49ers to a 4-1 record, including two road victories against the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.
No matter who’s under center for the 49ers you can expect nothing less than a slug-fest. Watching two teams fighting for their playoff lives and two coaches who absolutely dislike each other, should make it a fun game to watch. We will just have to wait and see how everything plays out.
Prediction: The game will come down to field-goal kickers and we all know how unreliable David Akers has been thus far. With that said, I see the 49ers winning despite this deficiency, 17-14.
Notes: The Seattle Seahawks are perfect at home this season with a 6-0 record….Seattle Seahawks starting cornerback Brandon Browner will be out for the game due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy….49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to lose to Pete Carroll in the NFL with a perfect 3-0 record.