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Game Preview: 49ers visit a suddenly desperate Seahawks team

No time to worry about the last one, it’s on to the biggest game of the year on the biggest stage.

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers

The Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers on a glorious Thanksgiving night back in 2014. Richard Sherman intercepted Colin Kaepernick twice, Russell Wilson fumbled twice, it was a big beautiful catastrophe.

This year, the two have once again found their way to the top of the NFC West, via vastly different pathways. The 49ers roll into town giving up the fewest amount of points in the conference. To that end, DraftKings Sportsbook has them as 6.5-point favorites over our Seahawks, who try very hard.

For both teams, former injuries have been a big storyline this year. On Seattle’s side, Abe Devon Witherspoon, Jamal Adams, Abe Lucas, offensive line at large, have all missed time early in the season. For San Francisco, that stretch without Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel was not pretty.

Future injuries will be a new storyline. The 49ers just lost safety Talanoa Hufanga for the season, while the Seahawks may have the same in RB Kenneth Walker. Geno Smith also took a damaging shot to his elbow, with two more days to recover.

This game marks the beginning of a tough stretch for both teams. A win here puts one of them at first in the West, though Seattle’s got the worse end of the remaining difficulty.

Where They Differ

There’s not much that these two teams do similarly, except win games. The Niners have the leading rusher in the NFL, the Seahawks are a bottom-five rushing team. The Niners have built their defense from front to back for a decade, the Seahawks have done the reverse. Even details down to the area of pass attack differ wildly.

Where They Agree

On the other hand, we’re looking at a couple of top-5 offensive lines in this matchup. At least in run blocking. Children have access to the internet so I won’t post the pass blocking numbers.

Secondly, and this is extra sensitive for the 12s this week - both teams are penalty prone. Hawks and Niners are 3rd and 4th in penalty yards this season.

Finally, somebody we can keep up with.

San Francisco enters the game atop the league in yards per pass attempt. The Seahawks are good, but not that good. However, Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen vs. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk is my matchup to watch for in this one, followed closely by Christian McCaffrey receiving vs. any of our linebackers.

To the first, I give the advantage to Seattle CBs, with Woolen’s hands-to-face proclivity as the great exception. To the second, yeah CMC wins that one all day.

I expect this to be as physical as it gets all year. It’s a big environment on Thanksgiving night with a very dejected Seahawks roster looking at their season dripping away. Divisional rivals know how to get DK Metcalf going. Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams get up for rivalry games. Witherspoon’s gonna be amped. Trent Williams always gets mad at somebody. Pete will probably challenge something stupid.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody, this is set to be a good one.