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

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 30, 2016 at 7:59 PM
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KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Levi's Stadium. TV: FOX, Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Shannon Spake.

SERIES HISTORY: 36th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 20-15. Seahawks have won seven of the last eight meetings, including 37-18 in Seattle in Week 3.


The Seahawks, who have won the NFC West, can earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and an Atlanta loss.

The Seahawks have held San Francisco to a total of 44 points in their last five meetings, winning all five.

San Francisco has been in steady decline ever since. A seventh straight loss to Seattle would assure the 49ers (2-13) no worse than the No. 2 pick in the May draft. A loss coupled with a Cleveland win over Pittsburgh would earn the 49ers the first pick in the draft.

Seattle's offensive line has really struggled at times over the last two weeks and needs to get back on track against a poor 49ers defense. The Seahawks are shorthanded at running back, as they have been all season, but Thomas Rawls is expected to play. He and Alex Collins will need to do what many teams have done against the 49ers' last-ranked run defense.

The 49ers are banged up in the backfield as well and will rely on Colin Kaepernick's legs to try to stay close. Will he be motivated in what might be his final game with the 49ers?


--Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham vs. 49ers SS Antoine Bethea. Graham had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers in September and could take advantage of good matchup opportunities against Bethea and the 49ers' depleted linebacker corps.

--49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett. Bennett will likely draw a matchup with Staley several times Sunday. Staley is trying to return from a hamstring injury but remains the 49ers' most accomplished offensive player. Bennett is still returning to form after midseason knee surgery.



--Out: RB C.J. Prosise (shoulder)


--Out: C Marcus Martin (ankle), G Andrew Tiller (ankle)

--Questionable: CB Dontae Johnson (groin), CB Rashard Robinson (hamstring), T Joe Staley (hamstring)


Seahawks WR Paul Richardson. Richardson will slide into the role vacated by Tyler Lockett's season-ending leg injury. Richardson caught a season-high four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in relief of Lockett last week. He will also take over Lockett's kickoff return duties.


-- Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls ran for a career-high 209 yards and scored vs. the 49ers in November 2015.

-- Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin has 18 receptions for 206 yards and two TDs in the past two games. Since 2015, he ranks second in the NFC with 21 TD catches.

-- Seahawks DE Cliff Avril ranks third in the NFC with 11.5 sacks. He has 5.5 sacks in his past four road games vs. the NFC West.

-- 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has five TDs and an interception in his past three home games. He threw for 266 yards and two TDs in Week 16.

-- 49ers rookie DE DeForest Buckner has three sacks in his past three games and ranks second among NFC rookies with six sacks.


The Seahawks should have an easy time, doing their part to try to claim that No. 2 NFC seed.

OUR PICK: Seahawks, 31-13.

--Chris Cluff

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