New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is known for his offensive expertise, but the San Francisco offense staggered in a 23-3 loss to Carolina. They did move the ball effectively at times throughout the game, but two poorly timed turnovers by new quarterback Brian Hoyer damaged their chances. At least another new face, wide receiver Pierre Garcon, was able to step up with a team-high 81 yards on six receptions. The defense fought hard and held the Panthers in check, but they had difficulty getting off the field on third down and failed to register a sack.
The Seahawks entered the season with worries about their offensive line, and those worries proved to be on point. Packers pass rushers were in the Seattle backfield all game long, causing havoc on Russell Wilson and stifling the running game. And yet the Seahawks had chances to win the game. They actually led 3-0 at halftime, a lead that would have been bigger had an apparent interception return for a touchdown not been called back for an illegal block. The killer blow was a Wilson fumble inside his own 10-yard line that led to the Packers first score and an eventual 17-9 defeat.
Running game in the spotlight
Seattle’s running game, with the exception of one long jaunt by rookie Chris Carson, was nonexistent against Green Bay. Thomas Rawls is injury-prone but has had some great moments as a starter, as in last year’s playoff win over Detroit. He is scheduled to suit up in this one, but Carson should also get a lot of looks. Seattle might just use this game, one they’re expected to win easily, as an audition process.
Seattle blocking woes
Seahawks offensive tackles Rees Odhiambo and Germain Ifedi had an awful time last week in Green Bay. The 49ers don’t present the same kind of problems with their pass rushers, but this is a serious problem area for Seattle, something left over from a year ago when they couldn’t keep Russell Wilson clean. All it takes is a couple strip sacks and the 49ers could find themselves hanging around in this game.
Offensive guru in check
Kyle Shanahan’s offense in Atlanta looked foolproof, but it also featured guys like Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones to run it. In San Francisco, he doesn’t have that kind of skill position talent at his disposal. Three points in Week 1 against Carolina was evidence of that, and it doesn’t get any easier this time around with the Seahawks defense looking to dominate after a Week 1 loss.
49ers RB Carlos Hyde vs Seahawks MLB Bobby Wagner
Hyde actually had some success running the ball against Carolina, averaging five yards a carry, but the Niners were playing from behind and couldn’t keep feeding him. To have any chance against Seattle, San Fran needs to run the ball effectively. That means that Wagner will be tasked with keeping track of Hyde as he tries to weave his way through the line.
Fantasy football tip – Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham
You’re starting Graham in redraft leagues if you have him; that’s a no-brainer. But you might have soured on him in daily leagues after his weak one-catch output in Week 1. But you can write that one off as just a lousy team offensive performance that sunk all individuals. Buy Graham with confidence this week in your DFS plays.
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 10 – 21 Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has to work out issues on its offensive line that still should keep them from really busting out like they’d like. But they’ll be good enough to win comfortably here.
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