The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 in a crucial NFC West showdown. The winner in this game will be crowned as the NFC West champion and could clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The 49ers began the season with an 8-0 record and looked as if they were the most complete team in the NFL. That was until the Seahawks defeated them on “Monday Night Football” in Week 10.
The last time these two teams met, it took overtime for Seattle to squeak out a three-point victory. There’s no doubt that the 49ers are motivated to split the season series with the Seahawks in Week 17.
As they head into Week 17, San Francisco owns a 12-3 record and can clinch a first-round bye with a win. On the other hand, the Seahawks are going to need some help to achieve the same.
Besides beating the 49ers, the Seahawks would need losses from the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints to get a first-round bye. With that being said, here are four reasons why the 49ers will defeat the Seahawks in Week 17.
4. The 49ers have the No. 1 ranked pass defense
When you play the Seahawks, finding a way to stop Russell Wilson can be a monumental task. But for the 49ers, they have the pass defense that can cause problems for Seattle’s dynamic quarterback.
Heading into the final week of the season, San Francisco has the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the NFL. The 49ers have allowed an average of 165.6 passing yards per game.
Provided that, the Seahawks may have to rely on Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin on the ground. As exciting as it is to see Lynch return to Seattle, it’s tough to envision him being able to carry a full workload in his first game since 2018.
3. San Francisco’s pass rush can contain Wilson
In addition to stopping Wilson through the air, you have to be able to contain him when he gets outside of the pocket. Back in Week 10, San Francisco was unable to keep Wilson in check as he rushed for 53 yards on six attempts.
This time around, the 49ers know what is needed to contain the mobile quarterback. It also helps that San Francisco has a lethal pass rush, led by Nick Bosa, that can make Wilson uncomfortable in the pocket.
The last time the 49ers and Seahawks played one another, Wilson was sacked a season-high five times. Just last week, he was sacked five times by the Arizona Cardinals, showing that the offensive line for the Seahawks is a glaring weakness.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo is finding his groove
Jimmy Garoppolo got off to a slow start to begin the season. In his first six starts, Garoppolo had combined for 1,314 yards, seven touchdowns, and six interceptions for the 49ers.
Despite the 49ers being 6-0 in that span, many were pointing at Garoppolo as the weakest link of the offense. The handsomely-paid quarterback has responded by playing well over the past couple of months.
In his last nine starts, Garoppolo has contributed 2,379 yards, 20 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The sixth-year quarterback is finding his rhythm in Kyle Shanahan’s offense at the perfect time of the year.
1. Seattle’s run defense is beginning to crumble
Earlier in the season, the Seahawks were stout against the run and limited opposing running backs to nearly nothing. Seattle’s defense only surrendered over 100 rushing yards three times in the first 10 weeks.
But ever since their bye week in Week 11, the Seahawks’ run defense has begun to crumble. Over the team’s last five contests, four teams have gashed Seattle’s defense for over 100 yards.
Besides containing him on defense, a feasible way to slowing down Wilson is keeping him on the sideline. The 49ers have the No. 2 ranked rushing offense that is capable of controlling the game.