The San Francisco 49ers38-13 Week 18 rout of the Arizona Cardinals gave them the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks have also made it to the playoffs. They snuck in as the No. 7 seed after the Green Bay Packers’ 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. As such, the 49ers will get an opportunity to exact revenge on the Seahawks in the postseason. That said, let’s look at some of the issues the 49ers have when they face the Seahawks in the Wild Card Round.

This will be the first time the 49ers and Seahawks will square off in the postseason since their dramatic NFC Championship Game in January 2014 in Seattle.

In this season’s two matchups, however, the 49ers were undefeated. In Week 2 at Levi’s Stadium, they defeated the Seahawks, 27-7. Afterward in Week 15 in Seattle, the Niners defeated them again, 21-13, to win the NFC West.

That said, here are some of the issues the 49ers will have when they face the Seahawks.

4. Will Deommodore Lenoir get roasted?

The 49ers defense is elite. It might be the best in the league right now. However, there are gaps in their secondary. After Emmanuel Moseley suffered an ACL injury and was forced to miss the whole season, Deommodore Lenoir, a second-year cornerback, was forced into the starting cornerback position. Lenoir, however, has had some lowlights thi season. In fact, he had a memorable one against the Cardinals in Week 18.

That player who was just beaten by Arizona’s AJ Green for a 77-yard touchdown was Lenoir. This play highlights a problem that the Niners have been experiencing for some time. The painful truth is that opponents can easily exploit Lenoir’s weaknesses. This is not an isolated incident.

Recall that in the Niners’ close victory against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17, Lenoir was consistently targeted. He allowed a passer rating of 113.69. If Lenoir is unable to make plays against players on teams that are not making the playoffs, it raises questions about how he will perform against more skilled players like Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf.

3. Can the run defense stop Kenneth Walker III?

Rookie Seattle RB Kenneth Walker III could potentially be a key factor in the team’s third meeting against the 49ers. Although Walker did play in the previous two meetings, he was still playing behind the starting running back Rashaad Penny in the first game and was not at full strength due to an ankle injury in the second game.

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However, in recent weeks, Walker has been performing well, rushing for over 100 yards in each of the last three games and finishing the regular season with 1,050 yards on the ground in 15 games. With his current form and the possibility of windy weather limiting the passing game at Levi’s Stadium, Walker may have the potential to affect the outcome of this game in a huge way.

The 49ers ground defense has been strong, of course, but can they stop a red-hot Walker?

2. Can Brock Purdy hold his own against Geno Smith?

Rookie QB Brock Purdy had a strong performance against the Cardinals. He completed 15 out of 20 pass attempts for 178 yards and three touchdowns. This marks the first time in his rookie season that he has thrown three touchdowns in a game. He has been particularly successful in the red zone, connecting with his top players Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle for touchdowns (twice). Purdy ends his regular season with an impressive record, remaining undefeated as a starter. He has a 67 percent completion rate, 1,374 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. At 22 years old, he will now try to continue his success in the Wild Card Round.

Purdy has been playing well, there is no doubt about that. However, it seems that his performances are not unique. And well, he is still a rookie, after all. Purdy has earned this team’s trust through his understanding of the system and his quick decision-making. He does not try to do too much and understands the importance of his playmakers. Although Purdy may make a mistake or two, he seems to have the right mindset and does not appear to be affected by pressure.

On the other side, he’ll be ranged against veteran Geno Smith, who has played better than expected. Interestingly enough, Smith will also make his first postseason appearance here. Who will rise to the occasion and who will wilt under pressure? We expect Smith to play a bit better than Purdy.

1. Weather, Weather

The weather is expected to be a significant factor in this game. According to, there is a high chance of heavy rainfall during this day with a 100 percent chance of rain and around 0.5 inches of rain expected. This could greatly affect the game. Take note that wet conditions may lead to more turnovers and unexpected plays.

The 49ers are aware of the challenges that bad weather can cause. Remember that they lost, 19-10, to the Bears in a rainy game in Chicago in Week 1. That was one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season.

This may mean that the game will have to rely heavily on running plays. That may favor players like Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers and Ken Walker III of the Seahawks. It could also negate the passing attack of both teams. The weather may just be the biggest wild card in this Wild Card Round affair.