Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1 SU, 8-7 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (2-13 SU, 4-11 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: Sunday, January 1, 2017, at 4:25PM EST
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SEA -9.5/SF +9.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Seattle Seahawks come to Levi’s Stadium to face the San Francisco 49ers in week 17 NFC West action. For the 49ers, it’s the end to a tough season. By the same token, they showed some life on Saturday with a 22-21 win in LA over the Rams on a last-minute TD with a two-point conversion to get the win. Seattle has dropped 3 out of five, including a 34-31 loss at home last week to the Cardinals. They look to get some better momentum moving into the postseason because right now, the Seahawks look pretty rough.
Seattle is the NFC West champions. But their recent issues have now put a number-two seed placement in jeopardy. The inside track they had a few weeks ago to join Dallas as the two teams who get a bye is now a problematic situation where they need to win this game and hope Atlanta loses to the Saints. The Seahawks at times looked like they would overcome their issues, but inconsistency across all phases of the game and injuries have the NFC West champs a little ragged heading down the final stretch of the season.
As of now, injuries are a big issue for Seattle. On offense, they have struggled in the run-game with Thomas Rawls being out of action so long. Now his shoulder is hurt and he’s questionable. Promising CJ Prosise was lost for the season. Special teams maven and valuable Russell Wilson-target Tyler Lockett was lost for the year. On defense, the Legion of Doom has taken some hits with Earl Thomas lost for the season and the recurring injury issues suffered by Kam Chancellor.
At times this season, we saw the Seattle offense looking pretty good. Wilson was slinging it to his weapons. Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin were putting up numbers and different guys delivered on the ground. Baldwin had a big game against the Cardinals, but both have disappeared at times on this offense lately. We’ve seen an offense shine on occasion and look absolutely dysfunctional other times. And a lot of that can be traced to an offensive line that despite holding it together at times this season, has now deteriorated into one of the worst groups in the league. Their performance, or lack thereof, has become a major hurdle to victory for the Seahawks. At least they will be playing a bad Frisco team—one they smashed earlier in the season in a game where Graham and Baldwin both shined.
The Seattle defense has been hurt by injuries and a lack of support on the other side of the ball in some spots. They gave up 34 to Arizona and two weeks before that, 38 points to the Packers. They will need to get Chancellor back and hope they can rediscover some of their own form. Seattle has done big things with a bad offense before, but the defense was on-point and in top form. They’re not in great form now. The one thing about Seattle is that they are inconsistent. When you speak well or badly of them, it’s done in the spirit of knowing things can change on a dime. That’s just who they are. For that reason, one should be hesitant to shovel dirt on the 2016 Seahawks.
A win over the Rams doesn’t mean much, as the Niners beat them again on Saturday—the only team they’ve beaten this season. Still, the road win shows they still have some life in their legs after what’s been a really hard season where not a lot went right. The offense has been a little more of an X-factor with Colin Kaepernick back in the fold, as he threw a pair of scores against the Rams, while still showing a lively set of legs. Carlos Hyde will not be in this game, as they lose one of their better weapons. They ran the ball decently this season, while having the league’s least-prolific aerial attack.
For as bad as the San Fran offense is, the defense is even worse, ranked dead-last in the league in total defense, rushing defense, and total points allowed. A team whose recent success was based largely on “D” couldn’t stop a nosebleed this season. They are giving up an average of over 30 points per game, while averaging less than 20 points scored. Still, they’ve shown some guts recently, losing close ones to the Jets, Dolphins, and Cardinals, and springing the road win over the Rams. And scoring a TD very late against the Rams and going for the two was a nice development for a team that hasn’t had many this season.
The Niners have only beaten the Rams all season, albeit twice. At home this season, they’ve lost to the Cowboys by 7, the Cardinals by 12, the Buccaneers by 17, the Saints by 18, the Patriots by 13, and the Jets by 6. Where does Seattle fit into that equation? And it’s a Seattle team that isn’t exactly thriving heading into this spot. Can San Francisco even do anything about it or can they only shine against on-their-back teams like the Jets and Rams?
One could expect some urgency on the part of the Seahawks this week. But the problems they have aren’t the types of problems that go away on their own—injuries, a lack of firepower on offense, and a roughshod line that has gotten worse. That’s not exactly the team you feel great about laying 9.5 points on the road on. They could hit the field and continue looking ragged and struggle and that -9.5 could be a tough number to hit. In this league, the gaps between the good and the bad are never as wide as some would think. And with the Seahawks looking so rough, it’s just hard to lay that number. I’m taking the 49ers.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the San Francisco 49ers plus 9.5 points.
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