San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks Week 16 Preview and Prediction
It will be a playoff-like atmosphere in the primetime Sunday night matchup when the Seattle Seahawks (9-5) host division rival San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1). Both teams come into this game on a roll as the 49ers look to salt away the division by accomplishing a feat not yet achieved this season: beat the Seahawks on their home turf.
While San Francisco only needs one win to clinch the NFC West, Seattle can keep their division title hopes alive with a victory over the Red and Gold. Jim Harbaugh’s club found itself in jeopardy of allowing the division lead to get away from them in Seattle after the Seahawks destroyed Buffalo 50-17 at Toronto on Sunday afternoon. Instead of crumbling under the pressure Coach Harbaugh saw his sophomore quarterback put in a remarkable performance in the first half of back-to-back primetime games versus the Patriots to conclude last Sunday’s action. The 49ers opened up a 28-point lead at New England and clung on to dear life for a 41-34 win over the AFC East champions, punching their ticket to the playoffs in the process.
The 49ers’ defense is tops in the NFL regarding points allowed (15.6 per game, one full point less than the Seahawks) and second in total yards allowed (293.0), but to say Seattle’s offense has been hot lately would be a gross understatement. After setting a team record for points in a 58-0 romp over Arizona 2 weeks ago, the Seahawks became the first club in 62 years to score a minimum of 50 points in successive weeks.
Pete Carroll has reason to feel confident in his rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson – they have 108 total points in the last 2 games, which is tied for the third-most in NFL history over a two-game period.
While Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch (121 yards shy of 1500 for the season) deserve much of the credit for Seattle’s improvement on offense, the defense has also been up to the task. They have allowed 14.2 points per game and have forced 17 turnovers during their current 5-1 tear.
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks Under 40.5 (betting prediction)
There is a lot on the line for both of these clubs when they engage in battle in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. While the 9ers hope to lock up the division, a win for the Seahawks pretty much punches their ticket into the NFL postseason tournament and keeps their hopes alive for a division title.
These two teams locked horns back in Week 7 in a Thursday night prime time meeting, with 49ers holding on for a 13-6 victory. The over/under of 36.5 was never in question as scoring was limited by these two top defenses. San Francisco was able to hold Wilson to a season low 38.7 passer rating completing just 9 of his 23 passes, sacking him twice, and picking him off once.
With so much on the line and two of the best defenses in the NFL squaring off I predict these two teams will play it close to the vest on the offensive side of the ball. I think both coaches will try to pound the ball with the running game as both Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch are key parts to their respective offenses.
The 49ers and Seahawks played in this exact same spot in week 16 last year with both teams coming off away games the week before as Seattle played host to San Francisco last Christmas Eve. The 49ers squeaked out a 19-17 win, falling just under the total of 37.5.
I predict a similar outcome this Holiday season. Although both of these offenses have been revving in high gear, there is simply too much on the line to foresee a barn burner.
Taking the ‘over’ in the second-half of divisional matchups was a solid play a few weeks ago but as with any trend, it is balancing out. The ‘over’ still has a slight advantage (15-12, 55%) but the ‘under’ has hit at 10-5 (67%) in the last 15 rematches.
On the season, the ‘under’ has gone 29-17 (63%) in the primetime games.
I look for the trend to continue and I’m taking under 40.5.
Play: Seattle/San Francisco Under 40.5 (5dimes.eu)
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NFL Record: 10-5-1