Seattle / 49ers Wildcard Preview – Too Much Wood To Chop?

Seattle / 49ers Wildcard Preview – Too Much Wood To Chop?

by Thomas Quaynor – NFL Analyst for

The NFL playoffs begin on Saturday with Super Wild Card Weekend as the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers (13-4, 2nd seed) host their division rival Seattle Seahawks (9-8, 7th seed). The 49ers are a 9.5-point favorite in this one and have won 10 in a row, their last loss was on October 23rd! The 49ers won both regular season meetings, 27-7 at home in Week 2 and 21-13 at Seattle in Week 15. 

An interesting side note for the game, all three 49er quarterbacks faced Seattle this year, starter Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury in the 1st quarter of the Week 2 game, back-up Jimmy Garoppolo finished that game and QB3 Brock Purdy started the Week 15 game.

Why Seattle Can Win?

The Seattle Seahawks making the playoffs is one of the biggest surprises of the NFL season, they qualified for the playoffs after the Detroit Lions went into Lambeau Field and stunned the Green Bay Packers, 20-16 last Sunday night, which allowed them to claim the 7th and final spot in the NFC. During the offseason, the Seahawks appeared to be in full tank mode after trading star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos in March and replacing him with journeyman Geno Smith. 

In a shocking turn of events, Geno Smith had an outstanding season (30 touchdown to 11 interceptions) and was selected to the pro bowl for the first time in his career, while Russell Wilson struggled this season for the 5-12 Broncos. Even better for the Seahawks is they own the Broncos 2023 first round pick due to the Wilson trade and will pick 5th in the draft. Speaking of the draft, the Seahawks received a tremendous boost from their 2022 rookie class, running back Kenneth Walker III, along with defensive backs Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant have all been excellent this year. 

Walker III became the starter after an injury to Rashaad Penny early in the year and finished with 1,050 yards and 9 touchdowns, Woolen’s 6 interceptions tied for 1st in the NFL and Bryant had 2 sacks and 4 forced fumbles this year. Talented wide receiver DK Metcalf finished with 1,048 yards and 6 touchdowns this year.

The San Francisco 49ers enter the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak, 7 of the 10 wins were by double digits! Their last loss was October 23rd against the Kansas City Chiefs. The defense ended the year ranked number one, led by Defensive Player of the Year front runner Nick Bosa who led the NFL with 18.5 sacks, he had 3 sacks against Seattle this year. 

Linebacker Fred Warner finished the year with 130 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. Safety Talanoa Hufanga finished the year with 97 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. are also standouts on the defense.  

Why the 49ers Will Win

It’s no coincidence that the 49ers 10-game winning streak started soon after pulling off the blockbuster trade for do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey on October 20th. McCaffrey rushed for 746 yards in 11 games for the 49ers, which led the team. After losing starter Trey Lance and back-up Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending injuries, third string quarterback/’Mr. Irrelevant’ Brock Purdy came out of nowhere and guided the 49ers to the playoffs. 

He finished the year with 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 9 games. Wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (team leading 1,015 yards) and Deebo Samuels (864 total yards, 5 touchdowns in 13 games) and tight end George Kittle (11 touchdowns) are also key contributors to a potentially explosive offense, which is something the 49ers have lacked in recent years, as they’ve relied on the defense to carry them. All-Pro tackle Trent Williams remains one of the best offensive linemen in the game. 

The Pick

I don’t think the 49ers are losing again until the Super Bowl or at some point in the 2023 regular season, lay the 9.5…49ers 31, Seahawks 10

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