The Seattle Seahawks’ defense has been an issue following blown leads against the St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Carolina Panthers.
A trip to the Bay Area to face an anemic San Francisco 49ers’ offense could be just what the Hawks need.
The 49ers have struggled on both sides of the ball, but have put up some especially poor numbers on offense. In terms of total yards, the Niners have managed the tenth-fewest yards in the league. The Colin Kaepernick-led offense has totaled the eighth fewest passing yards in the league. Additionally, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are the only Niners ranked in the top 133 receivers in the league in terms of receiving yards.
While the Niners do rank ninth in the league in rushing yards, that number is a bit misleading. If Carlos Hyde’s 168-yard, monster game in Week One against the Minnesota Vikings is removed, San Francisco would rank 23rd in total rushing yards. These stats will certainly play in Seattle’s favor.
Given the 49ers’ struggles on offense, it would seem that Seattle has a strong chance to rebound defensively. That possibility becomes even more likely given the fact that linebacker Bobby Wagner is listed as probable after missing the previous contest. In addition to being one of the elite linebackers in the league, Wagner is the quarterback of the defense and a game-changer when he’s on the field.
While Wagner and the defense will have a favorable matchup against the Niners’ offense, the Hawks’ offense has a chance to consistently move the ball and score points.
The 49ers’ defense has been picked apart by the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, and Eli Manning. Each quarterback threw for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns when facing the Niners. This season, San Francisco has allowed the most passing yards and second most total yards in the league. Additionally, the team has forced the fourth-fewest takeaways in the NFL.
One member of the Hawks’ offense who could thrive is Jimmy Graham. The matchup nightmare hauled in eight catches for 140 yards against the Panthers. San Francisco has had considerable trouble with opposing offenses’ top receiving threats as of late. Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Steve Smith Sr. each amassed at least 121 yards and a touchdown against the Niners.
Smith, who played through micro fractures in his back, managed seven catches for 137 yards and a touchdown against San Francisco last week. Based on this, Graham has another chance to turn in a standout performance.
Despite struggles by the 49ers this season, the game is still a must-win for Seattle. A 3-4 record a considerably easier challenge than a 2-5 mark.
Cornerback Marcus Burley (hand), center Patrick Lewis (ankle), defensive lineman Jordan Hill (quadriceps) and linebacker Nick Moody (ankle) have all been ruled out.
Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (shoulder) is the only player listed as questionable.
Listed as probable to play are tackle Gary Gilliam (ankle), guard Justin Britt (hip), Wagner (pectoral), running back Marshawn Lynch (hamstring), safety Kam Chancellor (shoulder), wide receiver Tyler Lockett (hip), defensive ends Frank Clark (hamstring) and Cliff Avril (ankle) as well as cornerbacks Richard Sherman (ankle) and Tye Smith (hip).