John: It's week seven the NFL season. It's flying by fast isn't it? At least to me it is. We're here to preview this week's Thursday night game as the Seattle Seahawks head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers.
Last week was rough. After two largely predictable weeks, it was back to NFL madness with 7 of the 14 games having a result that was three points or less. We'll get into some of the other stats tomorrow, but as we're seeing every week you just never know what might happen from week to week in the NFL. It's what makes it so exciting, though.
Standings after Week 6 (Straight Up)
Mike 56-35 .615 (Last Week 8-6)
John 56-35 .615 (6-8)
Bret 54-37 .593 (8-6)
As always I'm joined by Bret Clev and Mike Maloney to break down tonight's game.
Seattle (4-2) at San Francisco (4-2) 8:20 PM
Bret: With these Thursday night games I think we can throw stats out the window. There's just always going to be some wacky narrative that doesn't make sense come through. This one could either be "Seattle on the road after a tough game" or "San Francisco reeling after a tough loss." Could go either way.
Obviously, this is going to be a defensive game, and I expect the game to be pretty close to the super low 37.5 points.
Seattle's defense has the speed and size up-front to stop the 9ers power running game, causing Smith to throw a lot out of the shotgun/pistol. Watching last week's game I saw a formation I'd never seen before several times. The 49ers lined up their backfield in a pistol-wishbone look. Smith in the pistol with H-backs on his left and right, and Gore 2 steps behind. This, I think, could be a key formation for the 49ers in this game - I don't expect Smith to have the time to go deep (and Harbaugh may be hesitant to try it after last week), but those H-backs either blocking or coming out of the backfield and into the flat. When you have that along with Vernon Davis running seams and posts will cause headaches for everyone - and that's how they'll exploit a Seattle defense which, if anything, lacks speed at the second level.
On the other side of the ball, I don't really see an area where Seattle has a significant advantage over the 49ers defense. I don't expect them to come up with anything inventive. It'll simply be the Marshawn-Hammer beating on the 49ers D-Line. Seattle's pretty good at that, but I don't think anyone is good enough to beat San Francisco that way. I expect it to be a long, plodding, 3-and-out play for field position sort of day for the Seahawks.
Still, I trust nothing in these Thursday night games, but I have to make a pick, so I'll go with San Fran. San Francisco 20 Seattle 13
Mike: Basically the NFC West is full of four teams of varying talent that play good defense and struggle to win games against other teams with good defense when they fall behind in the game. Does that about sum it up? Still not really sure how Seattle beat New England, and while I give credit to Russell Wilson for hitting Sidney Rice in stride 50 yards down the field, he was wide open with the cornerback chasing him and the safety five yards away from him on the other side. It was a really big win for Seattle, and I'm a little concerned about their energy level coming into this game being on a Thursday and all.
I don't feel like I took a ton from the Niners/Giants game. I mean, really what did we learn? That New York has a dominant offensive line? We knew that. That Alex Smith is capable of turning the ball over when he gets pressured and has to play from behind? Knew that too. That the Giants are one of the most inconsistent regular season teams but you know they still have the talent to put together games like this seemingly at random? Yep, also knew that one. Yeah, I'm a little surprised that the Giants were able to run the ball so well while the Niners really struggled to get anything going, but again, looking at how the game progressed and how early the Niners were down, I'm not that surprised.
Now, what does all of this mean for Thursday night's game? Probably not much, because it's Thursday night, which means who knows what's going to happen. I do happen to really enjoy betting against the Seahawks and the Rams when they're on the road, so I think I'll continue doing that for this game. Not only that, but I'm going to get a little controversial here and pick the Niners to cover (although I don't love it enough to make it one of my five bets for the week).
I think the only way you can really be competitive with San Francisco is to have some firepower to back up a good defense. And Russell Wilson's magic doesn't really extend past the city of Seattle. I'm a little nervous about the pick because it is a Thursday game as well as a divisional matchup, but Russell Wilson against San Fran's D is just too much to pass up. San Francisco 19 Seattle 7
John: With Seattle I usually pick them to win at home. I did last week against the Patriots and got that right. They are one of those teams that is significantly better at home. I think when you have a rookie QB like Russell Wilson there's more to it than just the crowd being loud. It's a comfort thing. Now they're looking to go into San Francisco against an angry Niners team that got their asses kicked by the Giants four days ago? I don't see it happening although if it does the Seahawks will be sending a message to the entire NFL because then they would have wins over the Packers, Patriots and 49ers this season.
I think the 49ers will right the ship this week. The Giants beat them up and ran the ball on them like nobody else did this year. Against the Seahawks, though, you can play against the run more and not worry about the pass as much because Russell Wilson is not the polished passer that Eli Manning is.
It will be a defensive game with a field position battle like Bret said and I think the Niners will be more efficient offensively. While I don't see either rushing game having much success, I think the Niners will be able to find Vernon Davis up the middle to open up the passing game.
San Fran gets out to a lead early, Seattle comes back late and tries to win on a final drive, but the Niners will hold them off. The NFC West is about defense. The Niners are the best team in the division. They will win this game.
The spread right now on Pinnaclesports.com is 49ers by 8 with the over/under of 37.5 points. I'm not going to touch either, but I am picking the Seahawks to cover and that it will go under by a bit. 49ers 20-16
Thanks for reading. We'll see you again on Friday for the rest of this week's games.
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