Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The 49ers head into Sunday Night Football trying to accomplish something the team hasn’t done since 2011, win in Seattle, against MVP candidate Russell Wilson, who helms Seattle’s seventh-ranked offense and has never lost to the 49ers at home. The 49ers’ defense will have their work cut out for them in Seattle, what do they need to do to limit Seattle’s offense and leave as NFC West champions?
For the first nine weeks of the season, Wilson was playing at an MVP level. When Seattle came into Santa Clara on a Monday night the 49ers were able to pressure Wilson and eventually sack the elusive quarterback five times. He finished the game with a 59.9 rating by Pro Football Focus, his lowest rated game of the year. Since the 49ers game, Wilson has a 33.1 quarterback rating while under pressure, good for twenty-ninth in football, and the Seahawks offense are averaging 0.0 yards per play, which is the worst in the league.
The 49ers need to bring pressure this Sunday. If they can succeed in moving Wilson off his spot and disrupting his timing with his receivers that will go a long with in taking pressure off the secondary.
Stop the running game
Even with Wilson behind center, coach Pete Carroll is adamant that Seattle is a run-first team. But last Sunday the Seahawks were hit with the injury bug, with almost all them coming at the expense of the ground game. Running backs Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise both went down and will miss the remainder of the season, left tackle Duane Brown was also injured and will require knee surgery before a possible return for the playoffs. Add the absence of back Rashaad Penny and center Justin Britt, and Seattle’s running attack seems to be on life support. Carroll and general manager John Schneider were so desperate to bolster their backfield that they signed free agents and former Seahawks Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. While the national media and the Seahawks fanbase seem to believe they’re getting the Lynch from 2013; in reality the 33 year-old running back has been out of football for over a year and only had 376 yards in his last season with Oakland.
Seattle should have difficulty finding success on the ground against San Francisco. Their injuries accumulated quickly and will likely be too much for them to overcome on Sunday.
If the 49ers defense can pressure Wilson and limit Seattle’s effectiveness on the ground, they will be crowned the division champs and secure the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
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