The Seahawks should beat the 49ers. They’re favored by 6 1/2 points and have the vastly superior team — the Seahawks are 6-4; the 49ers are 1-9.
But there should be some concern too. This is a classic “sandwich” game in which teams sometimes don’t play up to their usual standards against a lesser opponent when it comes between games against tougher teams. In this case, the Seahawks are playing the 49ers after they faced the Falcons (6-4) and before they take on the Eagles (9-1) next Sunday night. Plus the game’s on the road, and home underdogs frequently pull off upsets.
Consider, too, that the Seahawks had to claw and scrape to beat the 49ers last year in Santa Clara and almost lost to them in September until Russell Wilson pulled out a 12-9 victory. Because of these factors, I think it will be another close game this time around.
That 12-9 defeat started a five-game stretch in which the 49ers lost five consecutive games by three points or two points. I was impressed enough with the close calls to make them the Smokin’ Lock of the Week in their next game against Dallas, but the Cowboys blew ’em out.
They finally won their first game over the Giants two weeks ago and are coming off a bye. I thought the 49ers would use the extra week to give Jimmy Garoppolo more time to get familiar with the offense and give him his first start against the Seahawks. But coach Kyle Shanahan said that C.J. Beathard will be the starting quarterback, and I don’t know if that’s good news or bad news for Pete Carroll’s team — likely good news because Beathard is just holding the spot until Garoppolo is ready to take over.
If the Seahawks are ever going to get their running game up to speed, this is a good chance since the 49ers are ranked 31st in the league in rush defense, allowing 133.5 yards a game. It appears that Thomas Rawls will get another shot at being the top back this week — it’s not as if he’s earned it; it’s basically by default since Mike Davis is dealing with a groin issue. I still think J.D. McKissic should be the lead back, but Carroll seems to prefer him more as a change-of-pace option.
The 49ers could pull off a shocker here, but I’ll still give the nod to the Seahawks because of the huge difference between Wilson and Beathard.
Seahawks (-6 1/2) at 49ers: Seahawks 24, 49ers 20