Hawks-49ers will come down to who’s the best team
By Jim Moore
As it turned out, picking the Saints to beat the Seahawks last Monday was idiotic. I thought the Saints would win 20-17, and the Seahawks won 34-7.
Now the Seahawks face the 49ers on Sunday, and I’ve had a heck of a time trying to make a prediction. I’ve waffled so much that I was late with a reply to Danny O’Neil, who asks us to fill out these little NFL thingies every week to get our predictions on the Seahawks’ game.
I’ve boiled it down to this:
Reasons to pick the 49ers:
San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the 49ers leading receiver in 2012, recovered from an Achilles tendon surgery to make his season debut last week. Unlike in the 49ers’ Week 2 loss to the Seahawks, he’ll be in action against Seattle on Sunday. (AP)
1. Home-field advantage.
They haven’t lost to the Seahawks in San Francisco since 2008. San Francisco won there last year 13-6.
2. Vegas favors San Francisco by 2½ points.
Those guys in Vegas are occasionally wrong but are usually right. However crazy it seems that an 8-4 team would be favored over an 11-1 team, be careful if you’re actually wagering, thinking it’s a slam dunk with Seattle.
3. Michael Crabtree’s return opens up the 49ers’ offense.
The Seahawks’ defense now has to focus on Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Crabtree while remembering to gang up on Frank Gore too. And just like Russell Wilson with the Seahawks, Colin Kaepernick is a versatile threat.
4. The 49ers are the two-time defending NFC West champions.
When you’re trying to take the crown away, it’s a battle. The reigning champ will not give it away easily. You might get it, but it will be a knockdown, drag-out before a changing of the guard takes place. That’s my psycho-babble take on it anyway.
5. The 49ers are the more desperate team.
They need a win to make sure they’re in the playoffs. If they lose, they fall to 8-5 and are no guarantee for a wild-card spot. Even if the Seahawks lose, they’d be 11-2 and maintain a two-game lead over the 49ers in the NFC West race and one-game lead over New Orleans or Carolina in the race for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
Reasons to pick the Seahawks:
1. Their championship opportunity mantra.
Pick a Seahawk, any Seahawk, and he’ll tell you that each week is a “championship opportunity.” The Seahawks approach each game the same way, lessening the potential for a letdown or a hiccup. Even if I look at it as a game they don’t really need to win, they do.
2. The banged-up 49ers’ offensive line.
Left tackle Joe Staley strained his MCL against the Rams last week and returned to practice on Thursday, but he can’t be operating at 100 percent. Right guard Mike Iupati is also injured and likely won’t play. The Rams sacked Kaepernick four times, and the Seahawks have more sacks on the road than they do at home.
3. Russell Wilson.
In the last three games, he’s been off the charts. Last year he was starting his fifth game ever in San Francisco. He said that 75 percent of the playbook was available to him. Now he’s completely unleashed, and we know what an unleashed Wilson is capable of doing — all kinds of damage.
4. Colin Kaepernick.
He has completed just 50 percent of his passes against teams with winning records this year. And he’s 0-2 against the Seahawks. He might be a tick faster than Wilson in a 40-yard dash, but the best QB in Seahawks’ franchise history has it over him in every other way.
5. As Michael Grey reminded me, simply put, the Seahawks have the better team.
And that’s the best point of all.
Prediction: Seahawks 23, 49ers 20 (OT)
Season record against the spread: 7-5.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website jimmoorethego2guy.com and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.