The NFC West frontrunners will play their seasonal rematch, with the original game going 27-7 in favor of San Francisco. That game was the least competitive that Seattle has played all year - with the most recent loss to the Carolina Panthers a close second.
Now, playoff seeds are very much on the line, and the short-week turnaround only serves to amplify the rivalry. The Seahawks are 7-6 with unspeakably disappointing losses, while the 49ers are 9-4 with six consecutive wins mid QB-carousel.
But plenty has changed since the first matchup. The teams aren’t unrecognizable, though San Francisco begins to approach it.
Last time, the Seattle Seahawks had Rashaad Penny. Nobody knew about Geno Smith, nobody knew about Kenneth Walker, and nobody knew about Tariq Woolen.
Last time, the Seahawks averaged 12 points per game. Now, they score 26.5 per game.
Last time, the 49ers ran 45 times for 189 yards. So.
Last time, Uchenna Nwosu had one sack on the season.
Last time, Josh Jones was still a starter. Ryan Neal has since taken over.
Last time, DeeJay Dallas threw an end zone interception. He still has a passer rating of 0.0, 11 games later.
Last time, Xavier Crawford turned the ball over on a punt. He now remains on the practice squad.
There have been some pretty significant personnel changes as well, on both sides. Penny is gone, Walker emerged and then disappeared, and may not play. Tre Brown is trying to fight his way back onto the roster, and the team now splits Gabe Jackson and Phil Haynes 50/50 at guard.
Last time, San Francisco opened the game with Trey Lance, who made his final appearance this season. Jimmy Garoppolo took over, who has also since exited. Brock Purdy ensued, who yet still may not play on Thursday.
Christian McCaffrey now enters the fray, and well, he averaged 9.6 yards per touch in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Last time, the 49ers had Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Moseley, and Javon Kinlaw. None of them will play in Week 15. But George Kittle did not play, and now he will.
There are numerous changes over the course of an NFL season, but this particular matchup is pretty remarkable.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Niners as only a 3.5-point favorite on the road in Seattle. Considering the 20-point margin last time, and the inverse trajectory the two teams are on, the slim favor points towards how much the bettors believe these factors at play. On one hand, it hasn’t seemed to matter who plays QB for San Francisco, and it hasn’t mattered who runs the ball against Seattle. On the other, divisional rivalry, Thursday game, revenge week, etc.
It’s going to be fascinating regardless, and if the Seahawks win it sets them up to be right in the sweet spot of making a splash or crushing hopes down the stretch.