Seattle’s hosted the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11 and fell just short of a miraculous comeback, losing 34-31. A slow start, including a bad interception from Russell Wilson, was compounded by the Falcons fast start on offense, and eventually the gap was too big to bridge. Wilson did his usual thing of running around and causing chaos, but Julio Jones was able to move the chains with Richard Sherman out and despite Devonta Freeman’s absence they could move the ball on the ground too, unlike Seattle.
San Francisco spent Week 11 on a bye following their first win of the year, a 31-21 win over the New York Giants.
Blocking the front
San Francisco’s strength is in their defensive line. After investing their last three first round picks in the position it should, but Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Solomon Thomas have been easily the best part of this team in 2017. Buckner in particular has been a menace, beating guards with worrying consistency.
Seattle’s offensive line has been a mess all year, and even Duane Brown is unable to correct all the mistakes. While Justin Britt at center is one of their strongest blockers, he too will have his hands full. It may well again come down to Wilson making defenders miss and throwing miracle passes.
Beathard, not Garoppolo
After the 49ers traded for New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo we figured it wouldn’t be long before he would take over as the starter, and after the bye seemed to be as good a time as any to make the swap. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan has said that it will be rookie CJ Beathard who will start this week. After his impressive game against the Giants it is only fair really that the 49ers continue to give him time, and they have no reason to rush Garoppolo out before he is ready.
Seattle’s defensive struggles
The Seahawks are not the defensive force we are used to. Injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are a big reason why, but Cliff Avril is also missing and Michael Bennett is not playing his best football at the moment. Sheldon Richardson has not been the difference maker we thought he would be in the middle, and while KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner are still getting it done at linebacker, the whole unit is not quite what we are used to seeing. The 49ers will certainly look to exploit these new weaknesses.
Matchup to Watch: Russell Wilson vs Everyone
Russell Wilson is the only one really excelling for the Seahawks at the moment. He has thrown or run for 23 of their 24 offensive touchdowns and is their leading rusher coming into Week 12. If they are going to win this game then he is going to have to dodge and confound the 49ers pass rush, throw open his receivers and scamper away from linebackers. Last week saw the Falcons deploy their best pass rusher Vic Beasley as a spy and that didn’t really contain him. This week could see San Francisco try to contain him with their line or spy him again. Whatever happens, the entire offense is on Wilson’s shoulders and he will have to beat each defender in turn.
Fantasy Tip: 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin
The 49ers passing game has not been kind to fantasy players this year, but with so many injuries in the Seahawks secondary there are going to be gaps for Beathard to throw into, and Goodwin has been a big play threat for them. it’s a risk, but if you need to roll the dice he could be the guy.
Betting Tip: 49ers (+6.5)
I just don’t trust the Seahawks right now. They can’t run the ball and their defense is leaky. Giving up almost a touchdown is just too much on the road.
Prediction: Seahawks 23 – 20 49ers
The Seahawks should win this game, but it may well end up being far closer than they would like, especially given Seattle’s issues in the kicking game. San Francisco would love to play spoiler to their old rival, so don’t sleep on the upset potential in this one.
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