NFL Week 3 Preview: Seahawks vs. 49ers
Seattle looks to regain a winning record (and some dignity) after losing to the Rams in Los Angeles last Sunday, 9-3. What helps is that the Seahawks will be facing the San Francisco 49ers, at home. This iteration of the Niners is simply…not good. Not good at all. I recently called them the worst team in the NFC West, and I stand by that assessment. While I don’t consider a blowout win a certainty (I’m a fan, not a fool), I don’t expect this game to be competitive for long. The Niners have Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, who is completing a miserable 54.9% of his passes thus far, with three passing touchdowns to two interceptions. Gabbert does have well-known deep threat Torrey Smith to target in the passing game, but he is the only receiver who inspires anything close to concern. The most potent threat on this offense is Carlos Hyde, who is coming off of a very disappointing 14-carry, 34 yard showing in Carolina, where he also lost a fumble.
This is not the Niners team that was 1-yard away from a Super Bowl win; not at all. The defense is not as stout as it once was, the offense is depleted, and the quarterbacking is abysmal. Niners head coach Chip Kelly, as an offensive mind, has the mental ability to make this game interesting offensively, but I do question how (or if) he would attack the Seattle defense with few weapons on offense to stir the pot. The Niners do have a talented offensive line, headlined with Joe Staley at left tackle, though. I’ll give them that, and that line will have to carry the offense somehow if this is to be a competitive game. But frankly, the real headliner in this game may very well not take a snap at all. Of course, I mean backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick (backing up Blaine Gabbert. Lo, how the mighty have fallen).
Kaepernick leaves me feeling incredibly conflicted about him as a player. Not because I don’t understand or support his stance regarding the National Anthem. I do. Every move he’s made off the field as of late has been done with outstanding attention to detail and decisiveness. And that leaves me conflicted because I am a Seahawks fan. And he is a 49er. And that makes him the enemy. Frankly, I’m not supposed to respect a 49ers player this much. And I do. I salute him.
With that said, the Seahawks have no excuses. There are still some lingering injury matters (Thomas Rawls may be unavailable and Germain Ifedi is still on the mend), but Russell Wilson’s health has been steadily improving. While he may not be as elusive and fluid as he usually is, I do expect him to be more of a mobile player than he was last week. It also helps that Seattle does not face a loaded defensive line, as they did against Miami and in Los Angeles. There is no reason for this offensive line not to play better than they have this season. If the five guys up front can show some semblance of coherent play, and finally bring some real push in the run game, this team will score at will. On defense, I expect the same greatness as shown in the first two games; featuring elite run defense and disruptive pass rush (especially playing at home). The secondary play goes without saying, of course. I would not be surprised to see the Seahawks feast on Blaine Gabbert’s erraticism and inaccuracy to the tune of several forced turnovers. This should not just be a home win, but an ass-whooping extravaganza.
Prediction: Seattle’s offensive line plays like they didn’t bet on the other team for once. Seattle’s defense keeps the number of touchdowns allowed this season at one. More Cassius Marsh.