Moore: Why road warrior Seahawks will run to an upset vs 49ers
I’m picking the Seahawks to win for the fourth time this season. The other three times — against Cincinnati, Arizona and Atlanta — they won. The Seahawks can win, but I can’t.
I’ve found that if I pick against the Seahawks, which I’ve done six times, I’m a hater or an idiot or both. If I pick them, I’m somehow a jinx because there’s a perception that I’m rarely right. Unfortunately it’s a pretty accurate perception.
Let me say this about Monday night’s game against San Francisco — I like the Seahawks’ chances to pull off the upset and love them with six points, which is the spread for the game.
I went through eight reasons why I think they could win in a post earlier this week, and since then, I came up with a few more, some from my own diligent research and some from others’ research that I’m admittedly ripping off.
• The 49ers’ eight wins have come over opponents with a combined record of 22-43-1, which means they’ve played an easier schedule than the Seahawks, and that they haven’t played anyone as good as Pete Carroll’s team yet. Let’s see how they fare against tougher competition. I know this – when it comes to horse races, horses that are successful in low-budget races oftentimes lose when they move up in class. Maybe that will be the case in this game too.
• A middling run-stopping team at No. 14 in the NFL, the 49ers have been especially vulnerable to ground attacks since Week 4, allowing 5.4 yards per carry. In their last game, the 49ers allowed Kenyan Drake to run for 110 yards, and Arizona averaged 6.7 yards per carry in its 28-25 loss to San Francisco last Thursday night.
• The Seahawks are 4-0 on the road. I had kind of forgotten about that. They’re actually playing better on the road this year than at home. It’s weird that they’re 3-2 at home, losing to New Orleans and Baltimore and winning by only one point over the Bengals and Rams and needing overtime to beat the Bucs. But that doesn’t apply in this game with the Seahawks trying this season to break a franchise-best road record of 6-2.
• Everyone’s down on Jason Myers after he missed three kicks against the Bucs, but he still gives the Seahawks an edge at kicker over Chase McLaughlin, who was signed off the street this week and will probably replace Robbie Gould, who is doubtful with a strained quad.
• Even if he plays, 49ers star tight end George Kittle likely won’t be anywhere near 100 percent with ankle and knee issues that have kept him out of practice this week. Tight ends have been a problem for the Seahawks this year — and for that matter, wide receivers have been too — and Kittle is one of the best in the league at his position.
For the Seahawks, it should be easy to come up with a successful game plan against the Niners. Not that it will be easy to win, just easy to come up with a formula that gives them the best chance to win. That involves 30 carries for Chris Carson. I’d like to see zero carries this week for Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise. Give every carry to Carson and see if he can run for 150 yards.
Keep the ball moving and win time of possession. It’s not like the 49ers have a terrific offense, but as we’ve seen this year, every offense looks terrific against the Seahawks’ defense. Milk the clock, take your occasional shots with play-action and limit the 49ers’ offensive opportunities.
At this point, the only hope for an improved Seahawks’ defense will come from Quandre Diggs, the safety who was acquired from Detroit a few weeks ago. He’s been out with a strained hamstring but might play Monday night. Yet it’s still hard to picture a guy the Lions gave up on to make more than a marginal impact here.
If I’m in San Francisco writing posts for some station down there, I’m coming up with more reasons supporting the 49ers’ chances to win this game than the Seahawks. But I would also be concerned about the home team facing more pressure than the Seahawks.
A team that was 4-12 last year isn’t going to go 16-0, and this might be the spot when San Francisco’s improbable unbeaten streak ends, especially when you consider that the Seahawks are 27-5-1 in primetime games under Pete Carroll.
For reasons that I’ve outlined but can’t fully explain, I’m going with the ball-control Seahawks in a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, 49ers 17.
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