Just judging by the teams records, and the way they've been playing of late, you'd think the 49ers would be the heavy favorites heading into Sunday's showdown with the Seattle Seahawks. However, pulling off the win will be easier said then done.
The Niners are coming off one of their more impressive victories of the season and are riding some momentum after the way they've performed on offense over their last 6 quarters of play, but they can't roll into Seattle overconfident. Quest Field is notoriously known around the league as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, and December weather conditions up in great Northwest can get pretty frigid, so the Seahawks definitely have the home field advantage working in their favor, and a loud, frosty atmosphere isn't exactly conducive to a young quarterback like Alex Smith. And althoug the Niners showed they beat teams through the air, I think they're going to need to get back to the ground game and Frank Gore on Sunday. Gore had a career day earlier this year against Seattle at Candlestick Park, in which he rushed for 207 yards and 2 scores on just 16 carries. I think Gore will need to touch the ball 25+ times and the Niners are going to have to control the ball on offense. Not saying that Alex Smith shouldn't get the chance to air it out, they absolutely should be aggressive on offense and throw the ball, just saying that Frank Gore needs to receive more carries than the 23 total he's accumulated over the last 2 games. The return of left-tackle Justin Smiley will be a big boost to the O-line as well.
Defensively, the Niners will be facing a determined unit. Last time these two teams met, Patric Willis knocked Matt Hasselbeck out of the game before the half, which enabled the Niners to cruise to an easy victory, 23-10. Hasselbeck will be playing Sunday, though, and will be at full health, and when he's been on, he's always been tough on the 49ers. The Niners should win this game, and will do so if they can stick to their gameplan and limit their mistakes, as always. The Seahawks have struggled this year, but they still have an offensive led by Hasselbeck, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burelson, John Carlson and the emerging Justin Forsett (former Cal Berkley Alum). The Niners have also been a little beat up in their secondary, which doesn't bode well for slowing down Hasselbeck. They did allow David Garrard to go for over 300 yards through the air last week and Hasselbeck has more weapons to cover than Garrard. However, unless the Niners break down defensively, and the Seattle crowd and defense can get into the head of Alex Smith, they should win this game. I think the 49ers win in a close one, 23-20. And if you want to bet on it, check out Docs Sports for Betus reviews.