coleryan Posts:12012 Followers:20
On 09/09/2013 05:39 PM in NFL

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Pick

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Pick

Usually you have to wait into the NFL season is well underway to pinpoint a game that will obviously be the biggest game of the week between contenders. Not in week two as it is very clear that the best game of the week will be the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. Not only will this game feature two of the best teams in the league, it could obviously be a preview of the NFC Championship.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Seahawks listed as (-3) point favorites. That is the normal point spread for teams with the home field advantage, and the Seahawks have one of the best in the league. However the public is banking on the 49ers to win this game after the good showing against the Green Bay Packers. Over 69 percent of the betting public is on the 49ers, but the number has yet to change as (-3) is the most common number found at many of the top rated online sportsbooks.
The Seahawks started the season with an impressive road win against the Carolina Panthers. This was not an easy win as the Seahawks needed a big defensive play late in the game and then quarterback Russell Wilson had to drive the team to a late score to seal the victory. They may have an equally difficult time this weekend.

The 49ers proved against the Packers that they are in midseason form. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick showed that the first year was not a fluke and he found a new favorite target in Anquan Boldin. With Frank Gore out of the backfield, this team has everything that a Super Bowl team needs to win it all.

The football betting trends are very interesting leading up to this colossal matchup. San Francisco is 3-7 straight up in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Seattle and San Francisco is 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Seattle. The total has gone over in 4 of San Francisco's last 5 games on the road and the total has gone over in 15 of Seattle's last 22 games at home. With two very defensive ball clubs it is hard to believe that this will be a high scoring game.

However if the NFL has showed us anything it is that anything can happen when two great teams meet on the field.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12012 Followers:20
09/10/2013 04:26 PM

We thought this coming Sunday’s contest between the division-rival Seahawks and 49ers would be intense — but never this intense. Sure, there are NFC West dominance, fan bragging rights, postseason home-field advantage and a path to the Super Bowl all on the line, but, stop the presses … now eyebrows are involved.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick have made a wager that whoever loses on Sunday has to shave off one of his eyebrows. The bet came to light Tuesday when EA Sports posted a video to YouTube showing an “outtake” from Wilson’s and Kaepernick’s commercial shoot for the video game “Madden 25.”

Here is a portion of the transcript: “Big game on Sunday,” Kaepernick says.
“Yup,” Wilson says. “You know what we should do? Whoever loses has to shave an eyebrow.”
“Alright,” Kaepernick says as they shake hands. “Hope you don’t like your eyebrow.”

We’ll see Sunday which team — both at or near the top of most NFL power rankings — is able to assert itself as the divisional juggernaut. But, more importantly, we’ll see which quarterback takes a real blow to the brow.


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- DE Cliff Avril is a “good possibility” to play against San Francisco barring any setbacks during practice, according to Carroll.

- CB Brandon Browner (hamstring) could return to practice Thursday and is a possibility to play against the 49ers.

- DE Chris Clemons will start practicing this week but is not expected to be able to play. Carroll said it could be a couple more weeks, but the Seahawks don’t really know yet.

- The Seahawks limited WR Sidney Rice, who hadn’t practiced much during the preseason, against Carolina. He made two catches. “We had planned not to overdo it with him,” Carroll said. “We just wanted to get him back out there. He seems OK today. That’s a good sign. We’ll see how he handles the week. That was a lot to ask of him, and he handled it all right.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12012 Followers:20
09/11/2013 03:53 PM

Sunday night’s heavyweight matchup between NFC West rivals San Francisco and Seattle was the most talked about game by NFL observers when the league released the schedule in April. And for good reason — it pits two of the most talented young rosters against each other in a game that likely will have playoff ramifications later this season.

Still, head coaches for both teams are doing their best not to provide any bulletin board material. “We’re pretty placid in here,” joked Seahawks coach Pete Carroll when asked if his players were as excited as the fans for Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field. “(We’re) kind of flatlining around here. It’s a good thing. We’ll need that.”

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was just as stoic in talking about the 49ers traveling to Seattle this weekend. “There’s good football teams that we’re playing right out of the blocks here,” Harbaugh told San Francisco-area reporters this week. “Seattle’s an outstanding football team and will be a great test for our team. We know the challenge that’s ahead of us.”

Seattle faces San Francisco in the Seahawks’ home opener in front of a nationally televised audience on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The Seahawks have won nine of their past 10 home openers dating back to the 2003 season. Seattle’s only loss came against this week’s opponent, the 49ers, in a 33-30 overtime loss in 2008.

Seattle holds a 37-26 record in prime-time games. And the Seahawks are 17-11 in Sunday night contests. In Seattle’s last appearance on Sunday Night Football, they defeated the 49ers, 42-13, on Dec. 23 of last year.

“An NFL football game at CenturyLink is an incredible experience,” Carroll said. “And we get to do it a bunch of times. This happens to be the first one (this season). And so we’re going to try and live it up, and have as much fun as you can playing football in there.”

The Seahawks are encouraging fans to raise a 12th man flag on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 12:12 p.m. to celebrate the team’s home opener. And a group of Seahawks fans called “Volume 12” is organizing an effort to break the Guinness World Record for “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium” at Sunday night’s contest. The current record was set at Turk Telecom Arena in Istanbul during a soccer match between Galatasaray SC and Fenerbahce SC. The crowd reached 131.76 decibels. The Seahawks have documented a mark of 112 decibels at CenturyLink.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12012 Followers:20
09/12/2013 02:19 PM

The 49ers might win Sunday in Seattle without Anquan Boldin catching a touchdown pass. But the 49ers will not win Sunday in Seattle without Boldin catching many passes. How many? For the heck of it, let's set the over-under at six. More than that, the 49ers win. Less, no chance. I say this because I have two eyes and I have two ears.

Last season, the 49ers wide receivers were manhandled by Seattle's defensive backs, particularly in a 42-13 loss to the Seahawks in December. That night, the 49ers' leading pass catcher was Michael Crabtree with just four catches for 65 yards. No other 49ers wide receiver did any better -- or scored any points -- in either 2012 game against the
Seahawks.

Boldin, traded here in the offseason from Baltimore, has watched those on video. He's taken mental notes on the Seattle cornerbacks and safeties. "They're very athletic guys, with good size," Boldin said Wednesday. "If you watch films, they're a lot more physical than normal defensive backs."

So what's the secret to dealing with manhandlers in the secondary? "Just coming at them, matching their intensity, being physical yourself," Boldin said. "But I think you have to do what you do best. Some guys are smaller guys, so use your quickness. If you're a bigger guy, use your physicality."

Boldin is not the biggest guy. He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. But he is the most physical wide receiver to wear a 49ers uniform since Terrell Owens. Crabtree, who is out of action indefinitely after Achilles repair, is about the same size as Boldin. However, Crabtree makes his bones with clever quickness and flypaper hands. Boldin is less about speed, more about detailed patterns and aggressive grabbing.

Mostly, Boldin seems to relish any one-on-one (or one-on-three) fight for the ball. Boldin's best work was on full display last Sunday in his 13-catch, 208-yard game against Green Bay.

"He's always been a big-play guy," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, "and a guy who can catch it with guys draped all over him."

Boldin will not have another 200-yard game Sunday. The Seahawks won't allow that. But if he is just effective enough, with seven or eight timely big plays, it could make all the difference in opening up the offense for other attack points.

The 32-year-old Boldin has good history against the Seahawks. Before his Baltimore years, he spent seven seasons with Arizona, another NFC West team that met Seattle twice a season. In a 2008 game at noisy CenturyLink Field, he had 13 receptions for 186 yards.

On the downside, Boldin's most recent visit to Seattle was in 2011, the first season for the Seahawks' big-man cornerback combination of Sherman and Brandon Browner. That day, Boldin was held to just two catches and 22 yards.

Boldin's quarterback in Arizona was Kurt Warner, now retired and an NFL Network pundit. This week, Warner said that Boldin's competitiveness was "unlike anybody's that I've ever played with" and that he can often intimidate defensive backs, rather than vice versa.

"Anquan tries to do that every time out, whether the ball is in his hands, whether he's blocking on a run play," Warner said. "He physically tries to let the people on the other side know they're in for a long day. He does a great job of finding ways to get open. That is what's going to mean more than anything to this 49ers team. You have a quarterback in Colin Kaepernick that can extend plays, can buy time and Anquan is so good at understanding what defenses are doing and finding those holes, those soft spots."

Boldin credits that ability to his years as a Florida high school quarterback, before he was switched to receiver at Florida State. His coach at Pahokee High, Joe Marx, was a stickler for details and made certain Boldin understood overall offensive concepts rather than just one position.

In his brief time as a 49er, Boldin has lived up to his reputation as an all-business, no-bull employee. He left Sunday's game wearing bluejeans and a T-shirt. He is the opposite of flashy. If the Seahawks' Sherman starts yapping at him Sunday during the game, he will not yap back. "There's no need to," Boldin said. "I mean, that doesn't help me do my job."

Pay attention to Boldin's hands Sunday. If they are busy, his team is in business. And if those hands grasp leather seven or more times, I like the 49ers' chances to do excellent business.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12012 Followers:20
09/13/2013 04:58 PM

Russell Wilson threw only 10 interceptions in 16 regular-season games as a rookie, a few of them the result of a hit as he threw, a slipping wide receiver or a pass off the hands of his target.

But whereas many see the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback as one of the better caretakers of the football, Donte' Whitner sees a guy who gives the defense a chance to make a play. "He does," the San Francisco 49ers safety told FOX Sports this week, following a practice in preparation for Sunday night's NFC West rivalry game between the teams. "Whenever you play that style of football where you're running around and some guys get open sometimes by (Wilson) running, you'll give (defenders) some opportunities."

Though the Seahawks' defenders have been careful to say all the right things about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this week – “When you have a guy like that, he will put you in a lot of great situations to win," Seattle safety Earl Thomas told Bay Area media – the ever-confident Whitner has a swagger befitting the defending NFC West and conference champs.

Whitner hasn’t been shy in his assessment of Wilson, from his saying "through film study all week, we know where he wants to go with the football in every coverage" to noting the moments when Wilson takes some chances with the ball.

Case in point: what seemed like a terrific play Wilson made last Sunday in a victory against the Carolina Panthers.

On a third-and-8 late in the third quarter, Wilson started to escape to his right to avoid pressure but saw a lineman coming at him. He spun around to his left, only to find another oncoming rusher. Realizing he was about to get sandwiched by both players, an off-balance Wilson chucked the ball 30 yards in the air to the left sideline. Somehow, Doug Baldwin got to it before any of the three Panthers defenders in the area.

It was a Favre-ian type play. "An answered prayer," as FOX game analyst Tim Ryan called it with a chuckle while watching the replay during the broadcast.

To Whitner and his defensive teammates, it was an example of Russell being a bit careless with the football, something they believe he does often.

"It was an excellent play on the sideline (by Baldwin), but he still dropped back, ran around and just threw it to the sideline for anybody to get," Whitner said. "Those types of plays, when you see them as a defender, you have to take advantage of them."

Behind closed doors, the 49ers' defenders aren't bowled over by Seattle's offense, which features read-option looks, quick throws and an improvising Wilson scrambling around in his own backfield. Many of them believe it's a specialized scheme for specialized players, with one going so far as to say it's a "gimmick." (Funny, that's the same word Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman used to describe the Patriots' up-tempo offense last year.)

The Niners' defense was less than impressed with the Seahawks' 12-point performance in Carolina. Wilson did a few pirouettes and threw some dangerous passes that could've been intercepted.

But the 49ers shouldn't be fooled. Gimmicky or not, risky passes or not and sluggish opening week or not, this offense can score in a hurry. Wilson is a playmaker, and even the Niners understand he's a completely different player at home (123.6 passer rating in his career) than on the road (87.2).

Sunday night's game will be at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where Wilson threw four touchdowns in a 42-13 blowout of the 49ers in Week 16 last season. Even in that game, Wilson put a lot of air under some passes, including a 43-yard jump ball to Baldwin on his second pass of the game. It was probably more calculated of a risk than it looked, and Wilson clearly trusted his guy to make the play over their guy.

Baldwin made it; Carlos Rogers didn't.

Whitner knows the 49ers can't afford to not make those plays Sunday in the battle for the early lead in a competitive division.

"This is my fifth game against them, and we're 3-1, so if we can go ahead and take this game, we'll be 4-1 against them," Whitner said, adding of the three victories to only one loss: "Yeah, it gives you confidence. They got us one time up there. That's the one they'll remember, but we'll remember the other three."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12012 Followers:20
09/15/2013 08:48 AM

PICKS

The game of the week is here! This game will have plenty of excitement and the edge has to go to the Hawks and that very difficult home field advantage.

Seattle -3

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0