NFL Predictions: Seahawks at 49ers Picks and Week 14 Odds
by Alan Matthews - 12/5/2013
This may have been the toughest week of the season in determining which Sunday game to preview here at Doc's. You have Colts at Bengals, which is likely for the third seed in the AFC playoffs. The winner still has a shot at perhaps catching New England for No. 2, and the Bengals beat the Pats head-to-head. There's Browns at Patriots. OK, it should be a blowout, but let's see if Josh Gordon, suddenly Jerry Rice Jr., can have a third straight 200-yard receiving game. Lions at Eagles is a matchup of NFC division leaders. If Detroit can win that tough one on the road, they should win the North for the first time. In Dolphins at Steelers, Miami looks to keep pace with Baltimore for the final wild-card spot, while Pittsburgh can also keep its slim hopes alive. Will the Chiefs lose a fourth straight game Sunday when they visit what appears to be a Redskins franchise in disarray? Really the only game I see that means nothing is Bills at Buccaneers.
And then there's Panthers at Saints for the NFC South lead. It's a short week for New Orleans after getting schooled in Seattle, and because of flight delays the Saints didn't get back home until Tuesday afternoon. Frankly, I was going to do that game, which was flexed to Sunday night, but I would rather wait and do New Orleans' visit to Carolina in two weeks.
So it's arguably the best current rivalry in the NFL (at least since last season) this week: Seattle at San Francisco. The players don't like each other. The coaches definitely don't, dating back to Jim Harbaugh's days at Stanford and Pete Carroll's at USC. For the Seahawks (11-1), this game means something but also doesn't. They can win the division and clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed with a victory. As an added bonus, they can hurt the 49ers' wild-card chances. At the same time, with a two-game lead over the rest of the NFC, the Seahawks can afford a stumble, although I'm sure they'd like to clinch that top seed ASAP and get some guys a bit of rest.
San Francisco (8-4) definitely needs this more. It holds down the final wild-card spot but has the 7-5 Eagles and Cardinals on their tail. If you are wondering about head-to-head tiebreakers, the Niners didn't play Philly (or Dallas, the co-NFC East leader at 7-5) and beat Arizona in Week 6. They play the Cards again in the desert in Week 17. The Niners should win their next two ahead of that: at Tampa Bay and home against Atlanta. The Eagles are still focused on the division. Arizona should beat the visiting Rams this week but then is at Tennessee and at Seattle (which may or may not mean anything for the Hawks) before hosting San Francisco.
I have a feeling we may see Seahawks-Niners a third time in the divisional round. I'd like San Francisco at either Detroit or the NFC East winner in the wild-card round. So that could then mean a trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Seahawks at 49ers Betting Story Lines
Seattle sure looked like the NFL's best team Monday night in dominating the Saints 34-7 to improve to 14-0 all-time at home under Russell Wilson. The Seahawks held that high-powered New Orleans offense to 188 total yards -- the Saints' fewest under Sean Payton -- and Drew Brees to 144 yards through the air. He had passed for at least two bills in 43 straight. It was a clinic and reaffirmed the Saints aren't going to win an outdoors cold-weather playoff game. Wilson was excellent, throwing for 310 yards and three scores. If he played on the East Coast, Wilson might be challenging Peyton Manning for MVP. Obviously, the stats aren't close, but all Wilson does is win. He has thrown a pick in just one of his past seven games and completed at least 72.2 percent in the past four.
The streaky Niners are going the right way currently, having easily handled Washington and St. Louis the past two weeks after their second two-game losing streak of 2013. That turnaround coincides with Colin Kaepernick playing well again. He we awful in losses to the Panthers and Saints but is 34-of-52 for 510 yards, four scores and no picks his past two games. It's easily his best two-game stretch of the year. I'm not ready to say he's back to 2012 form, though. The Redskins stink, and the Rams have a good defense but were in San Francisco.
While the Seahawks are likely to again be without top receiver Percy Harvin, it appears that San Francisco's No. 1, Michael Crabtree, is back at full health after his offseason Achilles' tear. He had two catches for 68 yards in his season debut last week. His presence only opens up the field for Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis, and they both had strong games against St. Louis. The other big injury to be aware of here is to Niners left tackle Joe Staley. He's out with a sprained MCL.
Seahawks at 49ers NFL Week 14 Betting Odds and Trends
At BookMaker, San Francisco is a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 41. The Seahawks are 8-4 ATS (4-2 on road) and 6-6 “over/under” (3-3 on road). The Niners are 9-3 ATS (4-2 at home) and 5-7 O/U (2-4 at home). Seattle is 4-0 ATS in its past four after a win of at least two touchdowns. It is 6-1 ATS in its past seven road games against teams with a winning home record. San Francisco is 7-1 in its past eight after allowing less than 15 points in its previous game. It is 6-1 ATS in its past seven after an ATS win. The over is 4-0 in Seattle's past four after allowing less than 15 points in its previous game. The under is 4-0 in the Niners' past four overall. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
NFL Predictions: Seahawks at 49ers Week 14 Betting Picks
The bad news is that San Francisco has been outscored 71-16 in losing two straight to the Seahawks. The good news is that both were in Seattle. In Week 2, the Niners were inept offensively in a 29-3 loss. Kaepernick was 13-of-28 for 127 yards and three picks in the worst game of his career. The Niners turned it over five times and had 12 penalties. That's one of those games where you throw the film away. Seattle managed only 290 yards but kept getting the ball from the Niners offense so didn't need to do much. When these teams met in Week 7 last year at Candlestick, the Niners won, 13-6. That means little. Kaepernick wasn't playing yet, and Wilson still looked like a rookie.
San Francisco has been shaky at home with losses to Indianapolis and Carolina. Seattle's only loss came at Indy, but the Seahawks could also have lost at Carolina, Houston and St. Louis. The Hawks are a different club away from the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field. I love that the Niners are giving less than three. Take them and the over.
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