The SF 49ers are underdogs on the road in Week 8 against the Seahawks, yet these five elements might prove to be the ingredients for an upset.
Perhaps the SF 49ers finally bucked the trend of never being able to beat their NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, at their own home at CenturyLink Field after coming away with the shocking division-clinching win in Week 17 last year.
Previously, the Niners hadn’t won in Seattle since 2011, so it must feel good enough to know head coach Kyle Shanahan pulled something off that hadn’t been done since the early parts of the previous decade.
Yet the 5-1 Seahawks, who only narrowly missed starting their season a perfect 6-0 because of a Week 7 overtime road loss to the Arizona Cardinals, still sit atop the division and present a tough matchup for Shanahan and Co., who are still dealing with a plethora of injuries at a number of key positions across the board.
So it shouldn’t be too surprising San Francisco is a three-point underdog to Seattle this week, according to The Action Network, in what could be a crucial game to maintain the SF 49ers’ tenuous playoff hopes.
Fortunately, the Niners upset the LA Rams and New England Patriots in Weeks 6 and 7, respectively, so perhaps there’s room for another if the 49ers execute these five key things on Sunday.
No. 5: SF 49ers must double D.K. Metcalf with Tarvarius Moore
While much of the Seahawks success is predicated on the likely 2020 MVP, quarterback Russell Wilson, second-year wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is showing why all 31 other teams made the mistake not selecting him in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Metcalf, who already has 519 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the season, is a mismatch for most teams, and San Francisco’s shortish cornerback tandem of Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley. Verrett and Moseley are both sub-6-foot-0, whereas Metcalf’s 6-foot-4, 229-pound frame is more than just intimidating.
Few on the SF 49ers defense can match Metcalf’s size and speed, yet third-year defensive back Tarvarius Moore might be the best option.
The Niners have used Moore as a big-nickel safety and spot starter in place of free safety Jimmie Ward. Typically, this alignment would be used to guard against elite-level tight ends, although Metcalf’s frame almost puts him into that kind of category.
Moore can match Metcalf’s speed, and the former’s 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame is probably the only option to prevent Metcalf from breaking away from San Francisco’s smaller boundary corners.