The showdown for the NFC west title takes place this Sunday night as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field in Seattle. The two teams have been vying for the leadership of the division nearly all year, with the 49ers heading into the game with a 10-3-1 record and the Seahawks posting a record of 9-5. Picking a winner for this game is next to impossible with the two teams being so eerily similar. As it works out, statistically their win loss records represent the widest chasm of difference between the two teams.
Just a few areas in which their similarities are the closest are total points scored with the 49ers at 357 and the Seahawks at 350 for the year. There is also the points allowed for both teams with the 49ers at 218 and the Seahawks at 219. There is total touchdowns scored with the 49ers at 40 and the Seahawks at 41. Rushing by the two teams comes out to San Francisco garnering 2,280 yards and the Seahawks accumulating 2,250 yards on the year. Passing yards per game is also a tight race with the 49ers putting up 199 per game and the Seahawks putting up 189 per game. Defensive sacks are dead even with both teams recording 35 on the year. And finally interceptions are a close race as well with the 49ers tallying seven and the Seahawks amassing nine.
Both teams are coming off historic victories and both have a winning streak to protect. The 49ers are playing with a ton of pride after their shootout victory over the New England Patriots. The Seahawks bring their three game winning streak and bragging rights for posting two scores of 50 or more in their last two contests. Both teams are dependent on two ultra talented newer faces at quarterback to lead them to victory. And both teams look for their defense as the backbone of their respective programs.
If this game is anything like their last meeting, it will be a defensive struggle to the end. Their last game ended with the 49ers edging out the Seahawks 13-6 in San Francisco. Both feature running backs grounded out over 100 yards of rushing each. And the defenses for both teams hit every ball carrier with reckless abandonment.
The only difference now is the quarterback situation. In San Francisco, they have brought in new quarterback Colin Kaepernick to helm the offense. The Seahawks have not yet played him and have not yet seen first hand the capabilities that he brings to the contest. Conversely, the 49ers have not played this current Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Sure they played him early in the season, but the current Wilson is now much more confident, more poised, and has developed a killer instinct that does not allow him to shy away from any challenge. It’s the very reason that he is in the discussion for Rookie of the Year, along side media darlings Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. More than anything, these two young studs will probably make the difference in the game.
Keys to victory for the 49ers will be not to abandon the running game and to continue to ride the shoulders of Frank Gore. The 49ers do have the tendency to get a little off the script from time to time. No matter how well the Seahawks defense is playing, the 49ers have to stick with the run. It opens up the entire offense for them. Without it, they are beat. As for the Seahawks, they will most certainly stay with the running game. Marshawn Lynch is in full beast mode now and it would be a huge mistake for the Seahawks to move away from his talents. This year he has eight games over 100 yards, he has ten touchdowns on the year, and he has five of those touchdowns in the last three games.
When the dust settles in Seattle, one team will stagger away with the division title and a leg up on the competition heading into the playoffs. Prediction: 10-7 49ers in a brutal slugfest.
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