I dunno, you guys. I DUNNO!
I see the number 1 defense (49ers) going up against the number 4 defense (Seahawks). I see two great rushing offenses and I see two bad passing offenses. I see a couple of college head coaches having great success in the Pros (but one guy inherited the bulk of his team – Harbaugh – while the other mostly built his from scratch – Carroll). I see a couple of bitter division rivals going head to head.
We’re 5-7 over the past six years against the 49ers; 2-4 on the road (and 0 for our last 3 on the road). In the Pete Carroll era overall, we’re 6-13 on the road, including divisional losses to the Cards and Rams this season. This team doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence away from the friendly confines of SoDo.
I will say this: every year thus far (or, I should say BOTH years thus far) the Seahawks have gone on the road and shocked a team, beating someone we definitely shouldn’t have beaten. Last year, we went into New Jersey and rolled over the Giants. In 2010, we took apart the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field. Both of those games were right around this time of the year too! The week 5-7 range.
What I’m trying to say is: it’s not likely that the Seahawks will go into San Francisco tonight and come out victorious, but it’s not impossible either.
What has to happen? Well, the Seahawks have to convert on third down. That’s the most important thing. We’re going to try to keep the ball on the ground, because that’s what we do. We’re going to get SOME yards, but I would bank on seeing a lot of 3rd & shorts. We MUST convert those 3rd & shorts!
This game is going to be ugly, so settle in. This game is even going to be uglier than most Thursday games, because both of these defenses are so damn good. Which is why the second most important thing is: Hauschka has to make ALL of his field goals. I’m not kidding, this could be a game that ends 12-9. He can’t be missing any gimmies, and he can’t be shanking any 50-yarders either. We’ve never needed our kicker like we’ll need him tonight. Don’t fuck this up!
Given that their offense is so similar to ours (in that they’re a run-first oriented team, with a shakey quarterback to boot), I’d like to believe we’ll be able to hold them to some 3rd & longs. And, as a result, I’d like to believe we’ll be able to generate some solid pass rush on Alex Smith. If someone can keep Vernon Davis in check, I really don’t fear a single one of their wide receivers. So, I would expect more blitz packages this week than we saw against New England. If we can harass Smith into some turnovers, it’s going to be a great day.
But, if we give Alex Smith all day in the pocket to throw, forget it. The Seahawks will lose by double digits.
To be honest with you, I see the 49ers with a 10-point lead going into the 4th quarter. I see the Seahawks tying up the score with about 3 minutes left, and I see the 49ers kicking the go-ahead field goal with about 40 seconds on the clock. A furious rally will fall short with four deep incomplete passes. That long ball ain’t gonna fly against this defense, so don’t expect a repeat of last Sunday. This game will be a grinder until the last 15 minutes.
On a more positive note, I think after this game the Seahawks could very well finish the season on an 8-1 run and at least a tie for the lead in the NFC West. With divisional tie-breakers, I think the Seahawks lose out on the division, but I think they easily nab the 5th-seed and crush whatever division winner (NFC East) ends up with the 4th seed.