There is absolutely no chance I would even consider picking against Seattle at home. I could care less that the 49ers are on a tear and their offense is clicking, etc.
Here are five reasons why the Seahawks will win on Sunday
1. Collin Kaepernick
If you’ve never been to a game at CenturyLink Field, or aren’t a Seahawks fan, you probably believe the ludicrous commercial that shows the Niners’ QB acting unfazed as a horde of “fans” jeer at him like an angry mob. Not only is the commercial a gross overstatement when it comes to Seahawks fans (they don’t officially say that the fans are from/in Seattle, but’s it’s definitely implied), but it’s also a gross overstatement of Kaepernick’s ability in Seattle. Sure, he can act like he doesn’t hear anything walking from the team bus to the stadium, but when he gets on the field in Seattle he looks extremely affected by the crowd noise.
The last time the two teams met in Seattle, Squidward Gargamel Kaepernick posted a horrendous stat-line that would have looked all the more worse without his 87 rushing yards. The numbers are as follows:
13 for 28, 127 yards, 46.4 completion percentage, 4.54 yards per attempt, three interceptions, 14.0 Total QBR and a 20.1 quarterback rating.
Not exactly sparkling numbers there. Part of all this is simply that the Seahawks are tremendous as a defensive unit and make the best QBs look average, or worse. But part of it also has to do with the environment; Kaepernick struggles in Seattle. It’s a little harder to tell on TV, but in person you can tell from his body language that he looks exceedingly flustered by all the noise.
2. Frank Gore
Home field advantage and where the game is played really make a difference for Frank Gore. In the Niners’ Week 14 win he posted 110 yards on 17 carries. Against Seattle in Week 2? 16 yards on nine carries. These both look like outliers in the grand scheme of things, but the rub is that Gore struggles, comparatively, on the road. He has a decent split of home-to-away yards this year with 639 of his 1,128 yards at home and the remaining 489 on the road. However, if you take out his 153 yard outburst in St. Louis the road total dips to 336. That’s good for a stupendous 48 yards a game! The Seahawks won’t hold him to 16 yards like last time, but anything under 75 or 60 certainly won’t be surprising.
(On a somewhat unrelated side note, Gore ran for a total of 150 yards in playoff victories over Green Bay and Carolina. That’s only 10 more rushing yards than Marshawn Lynch gained total against New Orleans.)
3. Rising Interception Rates
Despite not intercepting any of Drew Brees’ passes, it can be argued that the Seahawks could have easily picked off a few passes. Before the playoffs began, the Hawks’ D produced 11 interceptions over its final three games. Given Gore’s ghastly (excuse the alliteration) road numbers in general, and against Seattle, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kaepernick throw more. This would play right into the Legion of Boom’s collective hands seeing as Dan Quinn’s unit has accounted for half of the 49ers’ QB interception total this season.
4. Unleashing the Beast
(If I had a nickel for every time I heard this in relation to Marshawn Lynch this season, I would probably have enough money to buy my own NBA team.)
Marshawn Lynch is heating up at exactly the right time. After a phenomenal 140 yards against the Saints last week, Lynch will look to carry over the momentum against a Niners team that he scored four times against in two regular season meetings. The 140 yards isn’t just an outlier; the former Bills player ran for 97 yards and a score against St. Louis to close out the regular season.
5. Lack of 23 Point Games
The San Francisco 49ers like 23 points. Of the seven consecutive games they have won, in four of them (and the last three in a row) the team scored 23 points. The Seahawks haven’t given up 23 points in a game since Week Six of 2012 when they beat New England 24-23. They haven’t lost a game when allowing 23 points since 2011, before Russell Wilson was even out of college.