Jim Moore Predicts: With unpredictable NFL season, Seahawks’ win over 49ers far from a sure thing
The Seahawks face the 49ers for the second time in three weeks, and just to show you how quickly things can change they were favored by 9 1/2 points at Century Link Field and are favored by only 3 1/2 points at Santa Clara. Earlier this week they were favored by six points, and I’m not sure why the line has dropped so much, aside from gamblers betting with both hands on the Niners for some reason.
I don’t quite understand it since the Seahawks have won four in a row and throttled the 49ers 43-16 in Seattle. But there are some factors to consider here: It’s a classic letdown spot for the Seahawks, since the game is sandwiched between an emotional Monday Night victory over Minnesota and next week’s Sunday nighter against Kansas City.
And if you’re the Seahawks, wouldn’t Human Nature come into play here? If I’m them, I’m thinking: “Hey, we beat these sad sacks by 27 points the last time we played them, how could they possibly be four touchdowns better this time around?”
Plus, don’t forget that the 49ers’ 3-10 record is a bit misleading, at least if you want to focus on the positive side of it. They have gained more yards and allowed fewer yards than the 8-5 Seahawks this year. What’s hurt them as much as losing Jimmy Garoppolo is their turnover differential – they’re last in the league at minus-21. And the Niners are coming off a 20-14 victory over a Denver team that had won three in a row and was fighting for a playoff berth.
From one of those websites that projects playoff chances, the Seahawks are nearly a lock to earn a wild-card spot, but if I’m them, I’m hellbent on wanting the No. 5 seed instead of the No. 6 seed. I’d rather face the Cowboys in a climate-controlled environment than the Bears at frigid Soldier Field. I know the Seahawks could win in Chicago too, but I wouldn’t want any part of Khalil Mack and that Bears’ defense after watching Chicago limit the high-flying Rams to two field goals a week ago. So playing hard to the finish and getting to 10 wins would assure the fifth spot and a matchup with Dallas.
As much as they’ve been a great story and appear poised to put a wrap on a surprisingly successful season, they could still go 8-8. I’m as rosy as you are about their chances to go 10-6 at this point, but that dark pessimistic side of me never completely disappears. Losing to the 49ers is certainly possible, and the Seahawks will probably be slight underdogs next week to Kansas City if the Chiefs have something to play for. It’s possible that won’t be the case – if Kansas City beats the Chargers Thursday night, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ starters may be on the sidelines in Seattle if they’ve clinched home field through the playoffs.
Then you’d finish the season against the Cardinals, and I know, I’ve seen them too, the Cardinals are terrible. But they won at Green Bay, played well in a loss at Kansas City and beat the Seahawks in the final game of the season at Century Link last year.
Where was I? I got sidetracked with that depressing digression, my apologies for that. But it is the NFL, for crying out loud, anything can happen. Look at the Miami Miracle last week, and there was a third-string quarterback named Nick Mullens who threw for 414 yards against the Seahawks and followed it up with 332 against the Broncos.
The team you saw Monday night against the Vikings will be on your flat screens again, but this time they’ll be in white uniforms instead of Action Green, and I’m guessing you won’t recognize them at times. But they’ll show up often enough to earn a close win, and hopefully one of the Seahawks will get in Richard Sherman’s face and ask him how the middle-of-the-road team looks now. Seahawks 23, 49ers 20.