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Hawks-Niners, other NFC West picks and previews in Week 2

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL regular season is underway, and so far it has not disappointed. The Seattle Seahawks sit all alone atop the NFC West for the time being, with a key divisional showdown against the San Francisco 49ers scheduled for Sunday. So, while the winner of the Niners and Hawks showdown will take over first place in the division, the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals will be playing get right games against the Atlanta Falcons and Las Vegas Raiders, respectively.

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams - Over/Under: 46.5 points - 1:05 PM PT on FOX

The Falcons and Rams each lost at home in Week 1, so both teams are looking to get the season back on track in Week 2 and avoid falling to 0-2 on the season. Starting the season with a pair of losses is certainly not the end of the world, but it’s certainly not a desirable situation for either team.

Matthew Stafford struggled in the season opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, but that was not uncommon for quarterbacks who did not play during the preseason.

So, the question becomes whether those teams, such as the Rams, will see better quarterback play and potentially better offensive output in Week 2.

Prediction: Over 46.5 points - Rams straight up, but Falcons to cover (+10)

Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders - Over/Under 51.5 points - 4:25 PM PT on CBS

In a matchup featuring yet another pair of teams that both lost in Week 1, the Cardinals and Raiders will be facing off looking to keep pace in their respective divisions. Arizona is, of course, without DeAndre Hopkins for several more weeks, while the Raiders have made significant changes following an offseason coaching change after the midseason coaching change during 2021.

That said, with Derek Carr and Kyler Murray at quarterback and nothing really resembling an NFL caliber defense on either side of the ball, don’t be surprised if this turns into a high scoring affair with the team with the final possession coming out with the win.

Prediction: Over 51.5 points - Raiders straight up, but Cardinals to cover (+5.5)

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers - Over/Under 41 points - 1:05 PM PT on FOX

As of writing, the Niners are favored by 8.5 points, which would represent the largest margin of victory for San Francisco over Seattle since 2011. It’s certainly possible that could happen, but given a track record a decade long of that not happening, it seems unlikely.

The big challenge for the Seahawks could be stopping the Niners run game after getting gashed on the ground against the Denver Broncos in the opener. Making things even more challenging in slowing down the Niners ground game could having to account for Trey Lance. Should Seattle decide to assign a linebacker as a spy on Lance, that could open up Shanahan’s deep screen playbook and lead to wide open opportunities for the likes of Kyle Juszczyk and the 49ers tight ends.

In the Seahawks favor is Lance’s inexperience combined with a weather forecast that calls for the Niners to play in the rain for a second straight week. The rain in Santa Clara is not expected to be nearly as heavy as the downpour in which San Francisco played in during their Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears, but could be enough to keep this a low scoring affair similar to those each team played in to opened season.

The Field Gulls staff is split on the outcome of the Seahawks contest against the Niners, with Devin Csigi and John P. Gilbert expecting San Francisco to win, while Frank T. Raines, Mookie Alexander, Stan Taylor and Tyler Alsin all picked the Hawks.

Prediction: Under 41 points - 49ers straight up, but Seahawks to cover (+8.5)

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