These two teams are very similar, with the Seahawks being a less-talented version of their California counterparts.
First place in the division will be on the line at Candlestick Park on Thursday, something that didn't even seem like it would be a debate entering the season.
Let's break this one down.
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.
When: Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Watch: NFL Network
Stream: NFL Audio Pass
Spread: 49ers (-7) (via covers.com)
I like the 49ers to cover here. They're 2-1 at home this season and won't take last week's loss to the Giants well.
Seattle, while a scrappy squad, doesn't have enough weapons to truly challenge San Francisco's defense. The 49ers, despite their offensive shortcomings, have players who command your attention.
Both of Seattle's losses have come on the road this season, and they will take another here by at least seven points.
Over/Under: 38 (via covers.com)
You'll see later that I have 38 points being scored on the dot in this one, but it could be less. Imagining these teams putting up more than that is hard to believe.
Combining two stellar defenses with two hit-or-miss offenses doesn't usually result in many fireworks.
Seahawks Injuries (via ESPN)
S Kam Chancellor, Ankle, Questionable
DT Clinton McDonald, Groin, Probable
49ers Injuries (via ESPN)
K David Akers, Illness, Probable
RB Brandon Jacobs, Knee, Questionable
WR Mario Manningham, Shoulder, Questionable
QB Alex Smith, Finger, Probable
T Joe Staley, Concussion, Questionable
Playing either defense in your fantasy league is a safe bet. On the other hand, stay away from these offensive players.
Alex Smith and Russell Wilson are marginal starts, anyway, unless a bye week has you in a bind. That also makes any receivers associated with either of these squads very questionable plays every week.
Sitting Marshawn Lynch or Frank Gore is difficult to do, so don't change that unless you have an incredibly favorable matchup sitting on the bench.
This game is going to be ugly. Don't expect a ton of big offensive plays with two of the NFL's best defenses doing battle.
Keys to Seahawks Win
The Seahawks must control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball if they want to win.
San Francisco boasts the No. 1 ground attack in the league, but Seattle's run defense is allowing just 70 yards per game. If the Seahawks hope to pull the upset at Candlestick, Brandon Mebane and company cannot get overpowered by the 49ers offensive line.
Offensively, Seattle must keep the 49ers honest. Marshawn Lynch is going to face a tough task, considering San Francisco has only allowed one running-back touchdown this season.
Lynch is coming off a poor performance versus New England last week, but he must bounce back if Seattle wants to have a chance in this one. Russell Wilson isn't ready to lead the offense by himself, at least not against this defense.
Keys to 49ers Win
The 49ers can't stray from the ground game despite Seattle's daunting front seven. Sprinkling big pass plays in throughout the game is necessary, but the primary focus still has to be on Gore.
Seattle won't make it easy. The 49ers will have to get creative, using misdirection plays to get Mebane going the other way. If they can keep Seattle off-balance, they will be just fine.
Also, look for Colin Kaepernick to make a few appearances. The change-of-pace that he provides will suit San Francisco's needs well, keeping the Seahawks from knowing what's coming next.
Defensively, the 49ers shouldn't be too worried. Seattle takes advantage of other team's mistakes, but it will struggle to grab any big plays versus San Francisco's stellar defense.
If this was at CenturyLink Field, it would be a different story, but San Francisco gets it done here. The 49ers will come into the game with a chip on their shoulder following a disappointing loss to the Giants last Sunday.
The short turnaround could hinder them, but they have more talent on both sides of the ball. Seattle gets by on grit most of the time, but San Francisco can, and will, match that.
Score: San Francisco 24, Seattle 14
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