As the San Francisco 49ers (7-4) prepare to face their biggest rival in the Seattle Seahawks (7-4), it will be two teams who will be fighting for their playoff lives. A game that will be the featured event on Thanksgiving Day, you can be sure both teams will be taking their best shots, as this heavyweight bout goes toe-to-toe. From Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s off-season rants to 49ers’ OLB Ahmad Brooks‘ fire back comments, there is no love lost between these two teams. So the question remains, who will win? While I believe this game will come down to the final seconds, I would give the slight edge to the 49ers based on home-field advantage.
If defense wins championships, then the 49ers should be in good shape as they continue to make their playoff run. A unit that ranks No. 2 in the NFL, look for the 49ers to once again set the tone as the 49ers’ front seven harasses Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. A likely scenario considering the 49ers have arguably the best pass-rush duo in the NFL with OLB Aldon Smith and OLB Aaron Lynch, look for those two to continue to create havoc as they I predict the pair to have at least two sacks. Not to be outdone however will be the play of 49ers DE Justin Smith.
Smith, who continues to be the rock and leader on the defensive side of the ball should be able to apply pressure for the second consecutive week while recording yet another sack. A task easier said than done as Smith will likely go up against Pro Bowl T Russell Okung, he should be good enough as Smith is still one of the best. If the 49ers front seven can contain Wilson while setting the edge and keeping him inside the pocket, look for the 49ers to then stack the box on Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch.
The player known as ‘Beast Mode,’ Lynch and the Seahawks No. 1 rushing attack should see a tough challenge as they face a 49ers No. 7 ranked rush defense. A clear matchup of strength versus strength, I believe that second-year player NT Quinton Dial will be the ‘x-factor’ that determines this matchup. Dial, who had the team’s worst run-defensive grade by Pro Football Focus last week should have a bounce back game under the lights if he can hold the point of attack. Look for Dial to redeem himself this week as his play will be imperative to the team’s success.
With the 49ers hoping to contain Lynch, look for the 49ers offense to have a difficult time generating points. A team that has struggled all year despite their many offensive weapons, I do not anticipate a fantasy football stat line for any 49ers player other than K Phil Dawson. In fact, I believe that Dawson will score at least four field-goals including a 50-yarder while being the team’s MVP. Can the 49ers score touchdowns against the Seahawks? Absolutely, but until then I have no choice but to roll the dice on Dawson being their best offensive weapon. The same goes on the other side of the football field with Seahawks K Steven Hauschka.
In what I predict to be a defensive struggle, look for both teams to struggle trying to generate points. Two teams that will be fighting for their playoff lives, look for the 49ers defense to hold off the defending Super Bowl Champs as they win a close one 12-10.
NinerFans.com 8-3 (Over/Under)
With the total points set at 40.5, I would take the under. Although I predict the 49ers to get back on track with their red zone efficiency, I don’t believe they will top 30 points making the under a slightly safer bet.
NinerFans.com 4-6-1 (line)
With the 49ers being -1.5 point favorites, I would eat the points and take San Francisco. Not an easy pick here and I would stay away but if I had to pick I would put my faith with the 49ers as I expect them to win outright.
Fantasy Football (9 out of 30)
As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks.
RB Marshawn Lynch
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