Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange   |   Sept. 14, 2017 at 10:08 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (0-1) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (0-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CenturyLink Field. TV: FOX, Sam Rosen, David Diehl, Jennifer Hale.

SERIES HISTORY: 37th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 21-15. The Seahawks have won six straight and eight of the last nine meetings. The last meeting, in Week 17 of last season, was the only Seattle victory over the stretch decided by fewer than 10 points.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The 49ers are looking for their first win in Seattle since 2011. The 49ers are in rebuild mode under new general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. But, in the Week 1 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the team was outcoached, outmatched and, especially on offense, outplayed.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer threw for 193 yards and did not lead the team to a touchdown. The Hoyer-led offense produced just 217 yards. The rushing attack was effective when used, with running back Carlos Hyde averaging five yards a carry. But they weren't able to run it much because they trailed.

Seattle's defense can rush the passer and will get hits on the quarterback; the unit had four sacks against Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. Shanahan needs to call a cleaner game and help his players avoid silly mistakes.

Seattle has its own offensive issues, beginning with the line. The Seahawks rushed for 90 yards against the Packers, but 59 of those yards came on two runs. The team averaged just 1.9 yards on the other carries.

The 49ers have a solid front seven but took a major hit when inside linebacker Reuben Foster suffered a high ankle sprain in the opener. He has been in a walking boot and will not play vs. the Seahawks.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

--Seahawks running backs vs. 49ers front seven. Seattle was woefully ineffective on the ground in last week's opener against the Packers. With Thomas Rawls set to return, the Seahawks will be at full strength. However, the 49ers allowed just 116 yards last week to a strong Carolina rushing game.

--49ers WR Pierre Garcon vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. Sherman and Garcon had heated battles when Garcon was with Washington. Garcon has managed just six catches for 73 yards in two games (postseason included) against Seahawks teams with Sherman on the roster.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Seahawks DT Nazair Jones. Jones intercepted Aaron Rodgers last week, only to have his touchdown return nullified due to a penalty. The third-round pick played 24 snaps in his first game for Seattle and is the primary rotational backup to Jarran Reed and Sheldon Richardson.

FAST FACTS:

49ers QB Brian Hoyer will make his first visit to Seattle as an NFL starting quarterback Sunday. The veteran has gone 6-10 in previous road starts, winning twice at Cincinnati and once each at Jacksonville, Tennessee, Atlanta and Minnesota.

49ers DE DeForest Buckner recorded eight tackles in the last meeting at Seattle.

49ers LB NaVorro Bowman has 87 tackles and three sacks in 11 games vs. Seattle. He made seven tackles and forced a fumble in the last game in Seattle.

Seattle QB Russell Wilson is 8-2 vs. the 49ers. In the past seven, he has thrown for 1,599 yards, nine TDs and four INTs.

Seattle WR Doug Baldwin led the team with 63 receiving yards in Week 1. He caught eight balls for 164 yards and a TD in the last meeting at home.

Seattle DE Michael Bennett had 1.5 sacks in Week 1 and is aiming for his sixth game in a row with a sack.

Seattle DE Cliff Avril has 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his past five home games vs. the 49ers.

PREDICTION: The rebuilding 49ers are no match for the Super Bowl-contending Seahawks, although Seattle's offensive line could make it interesting.

OUR PICK: Seahawks, 23-17.

--Chris Cluff

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