Niners Pre-Game Notebook: Seahawks

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

By: Joe Lami

The biggest game of the season is here for the 49ers as they host the (7-2) Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The last undefeated team in the NFL eyes its first 9-0 start since 1990 in what is quite possibly the biggest Niners game held at Levi’s Stadium.

Injuries
It’s crazy to believe that the Niners are still undefeated without both starting tackles and their pro-bowl caliber fullback, but they’ve done just that. Mike McGlinchy, Joe Staley, and Kyle Juszczyk are all expected to return come Monday. All three were held to limited practice on Friday, but Santa Clara remains optimistic.

Both George Kittle and Robbie Gould didn’t practice on Thursday and Friday. Kittle injured his knee in last Thursday’s win over the Cardinals. He won’t be ruled out until Saturday’s practice, but the faithful shouldn’t hold their breath.

Gould sustained a quad injury on Tuesday, and his status is still up in the air. Rookie, Chase McLaughlin, was brought in, in case Gould isn’t able to go. McLaughlin kicked four games for the LA Chargers earlier in the seasoning, finishing six of nine on field goals before being released.

Scouting the Seahawks
Russell Wilson is an early-season MVP favorite. He’s currently third in passing yards with 2,505 and leads the NFL with 22 touchdowns to just one interception. He’s been phenomenal and is by far the best quarterback the Niners have faced this season.

The one area he’s struggled in is getting pass protection, being sacked 22 times on the season, the ninth most in the NFL. The Niners front four need to be salivating towards getting after the quarterback because if they don’t, Wilson should be able to carve up the secondary. San Francisco has gotten to the QB the third most this season, with 30 sacks on the season.

Wilson’s main two targets this year and have been Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Lockett’s caught for 767 yards and six touchdowns, while the rookie has hauled in 525 yards and five touchdowns.

Seattle’s the seventh-best team at rushing the football. Chris Carson has been their go-to man, averaging 4.4 yards per carry with three touchdowns.

Seattle’s defense is just as good at taking the ball away, although they’ve played one more game. Tied for fourth in takeaways with the Niners, they’re particularly good at forcing fumbles, recovering seven on the season thus far. They don’t rely on getting to the QB as much, recording only 15 sacks on the season.

Final Thoughts
The Niners and Seahawks appear to be an excellent matchup on paper. It’s a classic offense vs. defense matchup – the star QB vs. the best defense in the NFL. If the Niners can contain Russ Wilson, they should come out victorious. Seattle’s defense gives up yards and the possibility of the running game potentially getting better with the three hogs returning is promising.

As long as Garoppolo continues to move the ball, pick up first downs, and prevent the turnovers, the Niners should stay undefeated.

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