Undefeated 49ers host Seahawks in huge NFC West showdown
"Monday Night Football" gets to return to its roots as for one week at least it has the game of the week in the NFL for Week 10. The Seattle Seahawks (7-2) will head on down to Levi’s Stadium to take on the San Francisco 49ers (8-0). This game has the potential to reignite a rivalry that was epic to watch when Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh went head-to-head earlier this decade with a berth in the Super Bowl on the line.
The first half of the 2019 season has proven that there is never a dull moment when watching Seattle play against any level of opponent. Last week, the Seahawks outlasted Tampa Bay 40-34 in overtime. This game had everything with Russell Wilson throwing for 378 yards and five touchdowns. Wilson now has thrown 22 TD passes and just one interception after nine games. Chris Carson added 105 rushing yards on 16 carries against the NFL's No. 1-ranked rushing defense. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf were lights out catching the football as they combined for 19 receptions, 275 yards, and three touchdowns. As for the defense, it was the same old song and dance, as Seattle gave Jameis Winston too much time in the pocket. As a result, Mike Evans lit up the Seahawks' secondary for 12 receptions, 180 yards, and a touchdown.
San Francisco was tested a little bit by Arizona last Thursday night before holding the Cardinals off 28-25. Jimmy Garoppolo was on point throwing the ball, finishing with 317 yards, four touchdowns, and most importantly, no turnovers. Emmanuel Sanders showed up with 112 receiving yards and a score. Tight end George Kittle also had a big day as he caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown but left the game late due to a knee injury. Linebacker Kwon Alexander also was lost for the season after suffering a torn left pectoral muscle. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers' defense responds without Alexander, who was viewed as the heart and soul of the unit.
Seattle at San Francisco
Kickoff: Monday, Nov. 11 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread: 49ers -6.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Seahawks' wide receivers vs. 49ers' secondary
After picking up Josh Gordon off waivers, Seattle has added another potentially dangerous weapon to the mix to go along with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The Seahawks were the only team to put in a waiver claim on Gordon which is interesting because you would have thought that a struggling team like the Dolphins or someone else would have. Gordon has 20 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown on the season during his time with New England. Now, the challenge for Seattle's receiving corps is making plays against San Francisco's secondary. The 49ers are No. 1 in the NFL with 138.1 passing yards per game allowed. Richard Sherman leads the team with three interceptions and he has been a nice leader for the younger defensive backs. It will be interesting to see how successful Lockett, Metcalf, and Gordon (assuming he plays, he's been limited in practice with an ankle injury) are in getting separation. If the Seahawks' pass catchers can't get open, it could lead to a long night for this offense.
2. 49ers' offense vs. Seattle defense
It is clear that San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan likes running the football with Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and the rest of the backs on the roster. However, with the Seattle secondary having some issues and the defense's inability to pressure the quarterback one would expect to see Jimmy Garoppolo turned loose throwing the ball early in this game. The Seahawks currently rank 28th in the NFL against the pass (278.1 ypg, 28th in sacks per game (1.7), and 29th in sack percentage (4.2). If San Francisco's offensive line can take control of the line of scrimmage it will open up the entire playbook for the 49ers. Emmanuel Sanders will need to be a huge factor in this game with crossing and slant routes as Seattle has a tendency to play soft with their coverage to avoid the big play. George Kittle is considered Doubtful to play on Monday night, which will make things easier on Seattle's linebacking corps, which is the strength of the defense and is led by Bobby Wagner.
3. Battle of attrition
Both teams are battling some key injuries heading into this week’s showdown. Kittle likely won't play on Monday night after undergoing an MRI and missing practice due to knee and ankle injuries. Kicker Robbie Gould also is considered Doubtful after suffering a quadriceps injury earlier in the week and the 49ers signed Chase McLaughlin to replace him. The offensive line could get a boost if starting tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, both listed as Questionable, are able to return. This could prove even more beneficial if Seattle's Jadeveon Clowney, who is battling a toe injury and has missed practice time but does not career an injury designation for this game, is limited. Left tackle Duane Brown also should play but how effective he will be is unknown as he's been battling a biceps and knee injury and only got in a limited practice session on Saturday. The Seahawks need their best offensive lineman to deal with San Francisco's fierce pass rush (30 sacks, third in the league), which is led by the likes of Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Dee Ford.
Home-field advantage should decide this one as San Francisco fans should be at a fever pitch on Monday night. Russell Wilson is an MVP candidate for a reason, and he will keep the Seahawks in this game until the end. However, the 49ers have the better defense and will find a way to get a key stop late in the second half to seal the victory to the NFL's lone undefeated team. The win will give San Francisco complete command of the NFC West heading into the home stretch of the season.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Seahawks 20
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ScottWhittum.