49ers vs. Seahawks: NFL Week 16 Preview
Kickoff: 8:20 ET
Network: NBC – Sunday Night Football
Weather: 43 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain
Typically I give you a bunch of stats when I preview the San Francisco 49ers games, but given the fact that they’re playing a division rival on the road, and the Seattle Seahawks at that, stats basically go out the window.
The last time these two teams played was a 13-6 slug fest on a Thursday night game. It was an ugly effort from both offenses, but I get the feeling the result of this game will be much different. The 49ers have switched signal-callers, turning to Colin Kaepernick after Alex Smith suffered a concussion. Smith started the previous meeting. Kaepernick offers more from the position as he can kill with his legs and has a much stronger arm than Smith, giving the 49ers the deep threat they lacked under Smith.
The Seahawks are also rolling offensively having scored 50 points in back-to-back games. Russell Wilson is making his case for rookie of the year and playing out of his mind recently. In his last six games Wilson has 14 total touchdowns to just one turnover. The Seahawks are 5-1 in that span.
Both teams are coming back to the West coast after great wins on the East coast. The Seahawks put it on the Buffalo Bills and the 49ers got yet another signature road win over the hot New England Patriots.
But to me, this game comes down to one thing: which defense can slow down the opposing quarterback. The 49ers did a terrific job of neutralizing Wilson’s ability to make plays with his feet last game. He had one of his worst games of the season in the last meeting, and that was mainly due to the 49ers defense. They played a lot of zone coverage and spied Wilson with their middle linebackers. Wilson had only 10 rushing yards in the last meeting, his second lowest output of the season.
In the end, the difference will be Kaepernick as he’s made this San Francisco offense one of the more dangerous units in all of football. Jim Harbaugh has been very creative with the second-year player and the team has averaged 28.8 ppg in the five games Kaepernick started.
Prediction: 49ers 20, Seahawks 13