Two of the NFC West’s most dominant teams meet this week for a cage match on Monday Night Football. The 7-2 Seattle Seahawks head to San Francisco to face off with the undefeated 49ers. The Niners remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team after the Patriots suffered a loss at the hands of the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens last week.
The Niners are not only beating opponents, but they are doing so decisively. Only two of the team’s eight wins have been one-possession games as the clock ran to zeros. Five of their wins have been by 13 or more points, including a 51-13 blowout of the Carolina Panthers, and in the remaining game, the Niners defense threw a 9-0 shutout in a Week 7 victory over the Redskins.
The Seahawks have had some of the more exciting games in the league this season. Six of their seven victories have been one-possession games, as was one of their two losses. Four of their wins have been by four points or less, including one-point wins in Week 1 against the Bengals and in Week 5 against the division rival Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers are 6.5-point favorites, and the over/under is 47.
MVP Leading the Charge
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is having a career season in a career that is already star-studded. Most pundits have him leading the MVP battle league-wide, edging out possible contenders like Jackson and Christian McCaffrey. Wilson has only thrown one pick all season and has put 22 touchdowns and over 2,500 yards to go with it.
Much like in years past, Wilson seems to do this with pretty much any set of receivers you put on the field. This year, it’s sixth-year wideout and veteran returner Tyler Lockett, who Wilson has found a connection with. The speedster has 767 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Both Wilson and Lockett had monster games a week ago against the Bucs, as Wilson tallied 378 yards and five touchdowns, and Lockett hauled in 13 receptions for 152 yards and two of Wilson’s touchdown passes.
Jimmy G and His D
There isn’t much room for concern amongst the Niners faithful this season. This team can pretty much do it all. So far, it’s been the resurgence of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and a stout 49ers defense that has led the way for the team. The offense is ranked seventh in the NFL in yards per game, while the defense ranks first in yards allowed. Gain yards on offense. Don’t allow yards on defense. Seems simple enough.
The Niners offense has been ignited by both an offseason acquisition and another just before the trade deadline. They signed running back Tevin Coleman to a two-year deal this summer. While he missed two games early with an injury, he’s still managed to rack up 83 carries for 355 yards and six touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders has only been with the squad for two games and has managed scores in both. Last week, he brought in seven catches for 112 yards and his second touchdown in as many weeks.
The defense, led by rookie Nick Bosa, has also been phenomenal. They have the best passing defense in the NFL and are fourth in interceptions. The resurrection of Richard Sherman certainly hasn’t hurt, as he already has three picks on the season. Bosa has already tallied seven sacks on the season and has a pick of his own, making a strong case for Rookie of the Year on the defensive side of the ball.
An Odd Outcome
With the current point spread, one might be tempted to go against the grain here. After all, not everyone can be the 1972 Dolphins and stay undefeated. NFC West battles are always seemingly close dogfights. There aren’t many blowouts within this division, oftentimes even amongst middling or bad teams.
The spread is too high, and Russell Wilson finds ways to pick you apart. The Seahawks keep it close enough for the Niners not to cover here, even if they lose. The pick is the Seahawks.
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