It’s a sunny, cool Seattle game day as the Seahawks begin their long road back toward potential playoff contention against San Francisco.
Marshawn Lynch is officially questionable with an abdominal injury, just as he was before last weekend’s game against Arizona before he started again and rushed eight times. Coach Pete Carroll said Friday he expects Lynch to play today.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-2) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-4)
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Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field
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Line: Seahawks by 3.
The series: Seattle leads the series 19-15. That includes the NFC championship game in January 2014, a Seahawks win on their way to their first Super Bowl title. San Francisco has lost four in a row and six of the last seven in the series. Seattle has outscored the 49ers 56-13 in the last three meetings dating to the Seahawks’ 19-3 win last Thanksgiving in Santa Clara, California, through last month’s 20-3 victory there.
SEATTLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY
Don’t do that again: Yes, they were in 1st and 20 or 25 on their first four possessions last week. Yes, they trailed 19-0 early. But Marshawn Lynch still only ended up with eight carries. Eight! There will be a time sooner than later that the Seahawks are going to wish No. 24 still played for them. Give him the ball early and often, regardless of the score. See what they can make behind the struggling offensive line. Relive the 122 yards on 27 carries Lynch had last month at San Francisco. It’s beyond time for coach Pete Carroll, play-caller Darrell Bevell and the Seahawks to reestablish how they became a two-time Super Bowl team.
Get Wagner right: Pass completions past him. Uncharacteristic misses on tackles. All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner hasn’t played to his own high standard recently. The Seahawks’ defense is at its best when he is. Sunday, he needs to get back to himself because it won’t be Bruce Irvin starting next to him; Irvin is out with a knee injury. It will be special-teams player Mike Morgan making the second start at outside linebacker of his five-year career.
Remind him he’s Blaine Gabbert: There’s a reason Jacksonville gave up on its former No. 1 pick. The Seahawks’ wins this season have come against Jimmy Clausen, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick – the man now on injured reserve Gabbert has replaced on the 49ers – plus Matt Cassel. Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Seattle’s defensive front shouldn’t need the help of blitzes to make this a bad day for Gabbert – and to make the Seahawks 5 for 5 against subpar QBs.
The pick: Seahawks 27-7. If they manage to lose this one, we can all pack it up to start Christmas and the offseason more than a month early – the Seahawks included.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
24 Marshawn Lynch RB 5-10 202 10th
When he walks away, which could be following another month or so, all will wonder why he was getting just 8 carries
54 Bobby Wagner MLB 6-0 241 fourth
The All-Pro been less so lately. SEA’s defense is at its very best when he is at his
17 Kevin Smith WR 6-0 218 first
This time last year the former UW Husky was loading FedEx trucks in LA. Now he makes his NFL debut
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
2 Blaine Gabbert QB 6-4 234 fifth
Beat ATL in first start after Kaepernick’s benching. Needs to be why JAX drafted him in 1st round
24 Shaun Draughn RB 5-11 225 third
Who? Plan C, with Reggie Bush & now Carlos Hyde out. 58 yds is career high—in SF’s last game
53 NaVorro Bowman FS 6-0 242 sixth
Returning to stadium where he tore ACL, MCL in NFC title game, Jan. 2014. SF’s best defender