SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1-1) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-1)
Sunday 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: Ch. 13 Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
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The series: The Seahawks have won the last five meetings – including the NFC championship game in January 2015, in Seattle – and have won seven of the last eight games against the 49ers dating to the end of the 2012 season. Seattle leads the all-time series in regular season 19-15. The 49ers last won in Seattle on Dec. 24, 2011, 19-17, during the only non-playoff season Pete Carroll has had as the Seahawks’ coach.
Do it with ‘D’: Quarterback Russell Wilson is still playing on a sprained ankle. Lead running back Thomas Rawls is iffy, at best, to play with a bruised shin. The offensive line remains unsettled and in need of improvement, to say the least. Time for another game won by the league’s top-ranked defense. It absolutely shutdown coach Chip Kelly’s fast, no-huddle offense the only other time Seattle’s played it, two years ago at Philadelphia. The Seahawks have allowed just 19 points through two games this season. Problem is, Seattle’s only scored 15.
Have Clark on a short leash: Kelly’s fast pace largely limits defense’s abilities to substitute. That played into Seattle’s defensive strengths of versatility the last time the Seahawks faced him. But one of Seattle’s best weapons early this season has been Frank Clark entering on third downs for speed rushes inside against slower, overmatched guard and centers. To get Clark even on the field Sunday to disrupt some more, he needs to be constantly as his defensive coaches’ sides – and as fast getting off the sidelines into the game as he’s been getting off the ball at the snap.
Give Michael the ball: He’s averaging 5 yards per rush this season. He averaged 6 per carry last week in L.A. So why did Christine Michael get just 10 carries against the Rams – especially with Rawls out hurting? If the coaches trust Michael in this second Seattle go-round like they say they do, if they are re-committing to the running game like this week like they’ve said they are, No. 32 should break his career high of 17 carries, particularly against San Francisco’s defense that is allowing 120.5 yards rushing per game.
The pick: Seahawks 17, 49ers 6.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
32 Christine Michael RB 5-10 221 fourth
Rawls is banged up. Wilson’s ankle is still sprained. Time to see if Michael can be "The Man."
88 Jimmy Graham TE 6-7 265 seventh
Carroll says TE proved last week he’s fully back from knee. Will he get back in the offense now?
54 Bobby Wagner LB 6-0 245 fifth
His unique familiarity with defense, teammates, ability to communicate are lethal to Kelly’s offense
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
28 Carlos Hyde RB 6-0 230 third
SF’s best chance: Hyde needs to get running and take SEA’s heat off QB
53 NaVorro Bowman LB 6-0 242 seventh
All the way back to All-Pro level after horrid knee injury in SEA in 2014 NFC title game
89 Vance McDonald TE 6-4 267 fourth
Scored SF’s only TD in SEA last year. 75-yard TD catch last week at CAR. TE’s been a SEA issue