The San Francisco 49ers host a banged-up Seattle Seahawks squad in Week 12, and Niner Noise breaks down why a potential upset is looming between these two NFC West foes.
Dec. 8, 2013 marked the last time the San Francisco 49ers defeated their NFC West arch-rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.
Yet the 1-9 Niners may actually have a chance to end that losing streak in Week 12, when the Seahawks come to town to renew this stagnant rivalry.
And there’s a real chance that happens.
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Sportsbook Review hasn’t released the latest odds yet, as the 6-3 Seahawks have yet to play their matchup this week — Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons. But it’s reasonable to assume the Niners won’t be favored. The only time San Francisco was a favorite was against the New York Giants back in Week 10 — the 49ers’ lone win this season.
But if an upset is brewing, let’s take a look at why.
49ers’ Two Weeks’ Rest vs. Seahawks’ Short Week
Week 11 marked San Francisco’s bye, while Seattle plays Monday night at home before traveling to Santa Clara on a short week.
Short weeks can throw the best of teams into a funk, especially if there’s travel involved, so that gives a slight edge to the 49ers. But factor in this — the Niners have an additional week of rest and preparation for the game.
If both teams were at, or near, 100-percent strength, this bout would likely still be in the Seahawks’ favor.
But the injury trajectories are heading in opposite directions.
49ers Getting Healthier, While the Seahawks Are Hurting
Seattle already lost All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (Achilles) for the season. EDGE Cliff Avril is also on injured reserve with a neck injury, and standout strong safety Kam Chancellor is expected to land on IR with a neck injury as well.
Defensive end Michael Bennett (knee) is questionable for Week 11, so that’s something to monitor, and offensive lineman Luke Joeckel just had knee surgery.
Meanwhile, the 49ers benefit from the added week and are getting some notable players back soon, as we broke down at Niner Noise earlier.
The 49ers have a healthy offensive line again, following the return of left tackle Joe Staley (orbital bone) and right tackle Trent Brown (concussion). And we could expect rookie receiving weapons Trent Taylor and George Kittle back in the fray as well.
And San Francisco’s defensive line might get reinforcements. Defensive tackle Tank Carradine (ankle) could be activated from IR in time for Week 12, and rookie defensive end Solomon Thomas (knee) is expected to be back.
The advantage goes to the Niners on the injury front.
Time to Start Jimmy Garoppolo?
There’s a good argument the Niners should start recently acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 12. Heck, it’s something Hall of Famer Steve Young argued over on KNBR 680 earlier this week.
Niner Noise made an argument against this, suggesting the 49ers go with now-starter C.J. Beathard in reward for his best NFL performance against the Giants last week. It would help keep the competition going under center, and Garoppolo might not be totally familiar with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s playbook anyway.
Yet if Garoppolo is enough of a difference maker for this contest, it’s possible the slightly better quarterback play is adequate reason to give him a start.
And considering the Seahawks are down a number of key players and coming off a short week, it might be worth the shot.
Regardless, the 49ers may have a slightly better shot at knocking off their division foes a week from today. We shouldn’t call it likely, but the chance is surely there.