The 49ers will try to avoid a two game losing streak at home in their Thursday Night Football contest against the Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco has lost the last two games on Thursday night but they have defeated the Seahawks in three straight games. To preview the game Niner Noise teamed up with Seahawks fan website 12th Man Rising and their editor Keith Myers. Enjoy and go 49ers!
Q. The Niners are coming off their worst game of the season and the Seahawks beat the Patriots with an exciting comeback victory. Despite last Sunday the Niners are 7-point favorites over the Seahawks. Do Seahawks fans feel they have the better team and should be the favorites to win?
A. The betting line actually have very little to do with the games, and everything to do with trying to manipulate how people bet on the games. The Seahawks are never favored. Even during their run of 5 straight playoff appearances and their Super Bowl year, the Seahawks were rarely favored in any game. It comes with the territory of being a team that is largely neglected by the national media. Most of the betting public simply forgets that the Seahawks exist.
As for the team’s fans, we know that this team is capable of beating anyone. This defense is truly special, and is as good of a defense as this league as seen in a few years. If Russell Wilson can continue to develop and improve as he adapts to the NFL, then this team is capable of some very big things even in the playoffs.
Q. The Seahawks already have big wins this season over the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots. What is the biggest difference on offense and defense for the Seahawks compared to last season?
A. The difference on defense has been added depth, speed, and pass rush. The Seahawks can now match up and physically dominate just about any team in the league. Jason Jone and Bruce Irvin have come in to team up with Chris Clemons to allow the Seahawks to get after the QB with regularity without having to blitz. So on the rare time when they do blitz it’s usually successful.
On offense the big difference has been the improvement on the offensive line. For years, Seattle’s O-line has graded out as one of the worst in the league. That is no longer true. While it’s a young group that still occasionally makes mistakes, it is right around league average now in terms of pass protection, and can be very good at time at opening up holes for Marshawn Lynch to run through.
Q. The Niners have the best rushing attacks in the NFL averaging 178.6 yards per game. Which player(s) need to step up on defense for the Seahawks in order to stop Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter?
A. The 49ers might have the league’s best running attack, but the Seahawks have the league’s 2nd best run defense. The Seahawks are only allowing 3.3 yards per attempt. This defense, from the 323 lb starting DE (Red Bryant) to the 6-3 230 lb SS (Kam Chancellor), is built to be able to stop the run without having to do anything special to do so.
Q. Through six games rookie QB Russell Wilson has played like a veteran who has been in the league for years. What are some of the reasons for his success this season? Do Seahawk fans consider him to be the long-term answer at QB?
A. I’m not sure what games you’ve been watching, but in Wilson’s first 4 games he looked nothing like a veteran. Only in the last 2 has he finally turned the corner and really started to look like a potential Franchise QB, but that is sort of what you expect from a rookie. He’s made his mistakes, but he’s learned from them and gotten better each week.
As for him being the future, I think he’s starting to answer all of his doubters. His performance against the Patriots last week was special. If he continues his progress this week against a very tough 49er defense, I think everyone will agree that the Seahawks have their long term answer at QB.
Q. What is your prediction for the game?
A. This game is going to be a very tough game for both teams. The Seahawks have the league’s best defense this year, and the 49er’s defense isn’t exactly “soft” either. Both offenses are likely to struggle to move the ball with any consistency. Ultimately, one big play could be the difference either way. This game is really tough to call, so I’ll give it to the home team by a point.
San Francisco 17 – 16 Seattle
Niner Noise’s answers after the jump: