Week 16: San Francisco 49ers At Seattle Seahawks
- QuarterbackColin Kaepernick is a talented and athletic quarterback who has performed extremely well since head coach Jim Harbaugh shocked the NFL and named him the starter over Alex Smith at midseason. Kaepernick has a superb throwing motion, reads defenses well and can make big plays by running with the football.Russell Wilson has been sensational for the Seahawks. While he was clearly the third quarterback in the rookie class behind Andrew Luck and RGIII, he does not have to take a backseat to either of them. Wilson has a 95.9 passer rating, he has thrown for 2,697 yards and has a 21-to-9 TD-interception ratio. He has also rushed for 402 yards.
- OffenseThe power, strength and skill of running back Frank Gore is the most dependable aspect of the 49ers’ solid offense. He is a punishing runner who weakens opposing tacklers as the game moves along. Wide receivers Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Randy Moss give Kaepernick a plethora of receivers. Tight end Vernon Davis can find the seams in the defense.The Seahawks tend to mirror the 49ers in offensive game plans. Both have mobile,gutsy and talented young quarterbacks and both have power running backs. Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 1,379 yards and 10 touchdowns. Wide receiver Sidney Rice can be a big-play maker while Golden Tate is a solid complementary receiver.
- DefenseThe 49ers are one of the dominant defensive teams in the league and their headliner is outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who has a league-high 19.5 sacks. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman may be the fastest player at his position in the league and he leads the team with 128 tackles. Powerful defensive lineman Justin Smith can be a dominant performer.The Seahawks are the third-ranked overall defense and third-best defense against the pass. The Seahawks are very aggressive at home and they will attempt to pressure Kaepernick throughout the game. Defensive end Chris Clemons leads the Seahawks with 11.5 sacks. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 121 tackles.
- Special TeamsPunter Andy Lee has been very dependable, averaging 48.1 yards per punt. However, David Akers has not been as dependable. He has missed 10 of his 35 FG attempts this season. The 49ers have a pair of explosive return men in Ted Ginn Jr. and Kyle Williams.The Seahawks always give a quality effort on special teams. Leon Washington’s consistency as a return man could be the difference in this game. Steven Hauschka has been solid for the Seahawks, making 22-of-25 field goal attempts this season.
The Seahawks were rooting hard for the Patriots to complete their comeback in Week 15 vs. the Niners, because that would have made this game for the lead in the NFC West. Look for a sensational effort from both teams and this should come down to which quarterback executes best in the fourth quarter. Don’t bet against the resourceful Wilson.