Seattle Seahawks (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date and Time: Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, California
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SEA pk/SF pk
Over/Under Total: 40.5
In an NFC West battle of 7-4 teams, the Seattle Seahawks come south to Santa Clara to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving. Even though Arizona has a stranglehold on the NFC West heading into the final 5 games, this is a rematch of last seasons conference title game and Seattle and San Francisco still represent two NFC powers who will need to be dealt with in the postseason. As has been the case with these two teams in recent seasons, look for a hard-fought and well-contested game.
Both teams have been playing well after struggling–mostly due to injuries on both sides, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. After landing at 4-4. the Niners have won 3 in a row, including a 17-13 win over the Redskins on Sunday. That followed a pair of road wins over the Saints and Giants. Seattle, meanwhile, beat the 9-1 Cardinals on Sunday in a game that saw their defense back in peak form, allowing a mere field goal. It was Seattles 4th win in 5 games. Look for each team to approach the final 5 games of the season with even more passion and zeal.
The Seahawks really mashed the Cardinals on Sunday, holding Arizona to under 200 yards of total defense. Were starting to see signs of this D coming back around close to its 2013 form. And with the top-rushing offense in the NFL, theyre going to be a handful for opposing teams heading into the final stretch. Marshawn Lynch is running hungry and nearing 1000 yards. But Russell Wilson has really put his legs to use in recent games. With big plays in the passing-game being so scant, Wilson continues to find ways to be a key playmaker. With Wilson and Lynch breaking off big runs, the 49ers defense will surely be tested on Thanksgiving.
The run-game and a defense that has gotten some personnel back peaking, Seattle has a lot going for them right now. One thing they lack is a passing game, ranked 30th in the league. Other than Lynch and Wilson, the offense is made up of replaceable complimentary pieces. Its really devoid of star-power. The Percy Harvin thing didnt work out and losing Golden Tate has hurt. They won the Super Bowl last year with much of the same people, but a passing-attack that couldnt really afford to lose much has lost whatever bite it had last season.
San Francisco has some of the same issues and even less excuses than Seattle. Colin Kaepernick and Company continue to languish with the leagues 24th ranked passing-attack, with a diminished running-game from 2013, ranked 11th. Frank Gore hasnt been very inspiring lately. And puzzlingly, Kaepernick continues to struggle aerially, despite a ton of talent and big names in their passing game. Despite winning their last 3 games, the Niners have only surpassed 17 points in scoring once in the past 5 games.
But despite crippling losses to their defense with injuries and suspensions, they are ranked 7th against the run and 2nd against the pass. Some guys, like Aldon Smith, have returned with more due to come back, as the Niners look to hit their stride at just the right time. Then again, by beating the Saints, Giants, and Redskins, the 49ers have been beating up on sub-.500 teams, so well see how they fare against a superior team.
The Seahawks and Niners will play on Thursday and again in a few weeks. This is where we separate the men from the boys, with each team now able to make a meaningful late-season mark. One could project the Niners win this week, with the Seahawks exacting revenge at CenturyLink a few weeks later, but one shouldnt be so quick to write off the Seahawks this week.
This game is a pick-em and appropriately so. A winner doesnt immediately come to mind, with a good case able to be made for both teams. The 49ers have a slightly better passing-attack, though it always looks better on paper than it actually is. Their run-game seems less in-gear than what Seattle is bringing to the table right now. But with both defenses being robust, this could come down to a turnover, a special teams play, penalties, or even mere happenstance. This match-up is never all that easy in which to cast a prediction.
As a testament to their character as a team, the Niners have always been able to answer the call in the past several seasons when the situation gets critical. At 4-4, things looked bad with the Niners buried in the division standings. Now at 7-4, they have caught some good momentum and it may not be all that easy to separate them from it at this point at home in the biggest regular season game of the season. I look for an exceptionally-tough game, with the Niners edging it at the end.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the San Francisco 49ers in a pick-em.