San Francisco 49ers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday, September 25, 2016, 2016 at 4:05PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SF +9.5/SEA -9.5
Over/Under Total: 40.5
The San Francisco 49ers come up to Century Link Field to face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in a big NFC West matchup. Neither team had a good time of it in week two with losses. The 49ers came up short to the Carolina Panthers in what was a tough road spot last Sunday. They hung in there the best they could with a late Panthers surge making it 46-27. Seattle, meanwhile, came up on the short end of a 9-3 grind in Los Angeles at the Coliseum, as the Rams made their return to the City of Angels.
Through two games, the Niners look to be better, at least improved upon last yearís team that won 5 games. Chip Kelly is aboard and looks to do the same thing in San Fran that he did in Philly in their first year, which is take a team from bad to a postseason team. That remains to be seen, but theyíre getting a lot with what they have. Their offense has the look of a B-team. With Blaine Gabbert at QB and skill players that would struggle to crack a lot of rotations around the league, Kelly actually has them moving. Against Carolina, the offense was able to keep them in the game.
At Carolina, against a Panthers team that needed a positive development after two straight games against the Broncos, San Francisco hung in there decently. They took a 10-7 lead in the 2nd quarter. Carolina went on a run with 24 straight points to make it 31-10, but two scores had the 49ers back in it down 31-24, but a series of miscues were too much too overcome. The run game might be in trouble unless Carlos Hyde can be more consistent. A Hyde fumble was returned for a touchdown on Sunday.
Gabbert wasnít too effective on Sunday and the Carolina defense had a lot to do with that. He did connect with Vance McDonald on a 75 yard touchdown completion and also found Torrey Smith for a long TD score. But you wonder how well they will be able to run the ball against the Seattle home defense on Sunday. Chip Kelly is an offensive force and should be able to figure something out, but heís pretty handcuffed with this personnel.
Seattle has their own offensive problems. A late TD score against Miami was good enough to notch the 12-10 win in week one, but a field goal worth of scoring against the Rams in week two was miserable. They tried to do the late TD drive thing again, but a Christine Michael fumble effectively ended the game. We see a lot of limping Seahawks. Russell Wilsonís ankle has him less-mobile than is usually the case. Thomas Rawls is still smarting with a lower leg contusion and Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are dealing with knee issues.
The Rams have now beaten the Seahawks in four of five games and they got a big assist from Seattle with the penalties and turnovers. This offense is just looking rough. The offensive line cannot seem to perform consistently and Wilson not being as mobile makes them look even worse. Their defense has allowed 19 points in 2 games and the offense still needed a near-miracle to win just one of those games. After the way the offense was airing it out last season, the rise of Rawls, the return of Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwinís form taking off last season, and Tyler Lockett in his second season, one could have been understandably optimistic about this offense and it just hasnít panned out.
Still, itís been a two-game window and while discouraging, donít expect the Seattle offense to look like this all season. A few things could change. One thing that would really help is that if Seattle wasnít so resigning in their offensive approach and if they went for it once in a while. You can only run screens to some dumpy fullback so many times on third and long before someone intervenes. Guys could get healthy and get this offense on the right track. Even just a little bit with this defense would go a long way.
Even with the offense not giving them a ton of support, the Seattle defense looks ready to have another great season. Nothing has really changed. They can still shut down the run and the Legion of Boom is still intact and thriving. Itís the leagueís best defense and against this 49ers bunch, it looks like another spot for them to thrive at home. The offense might be struggling, but itís not like any offense will reasonably expect to thrive against this Seattle bunch.
After shutting out the same Rams team that beat the Seahawks, the Niners may have seen their defense suffer against Carolina, last seasonís top-scoring offense in the league. Still, itís a group that can still do some things and make some plays and against a suffering Seattle offense, itís not crazy to forecast some SF success on that side of the ball. Itís not clear is Seattle can be in any other kind of game other than a grind right now. And thereís nothing about his team that makes you want to lay 9.5 points, especially against an improving divisional team. Iím taking the points.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on the San Francisco 49ers plus 9.5 points.
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